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Tigers beat Yankees 3-0 to take 2-0 lead in AL Championship Series

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez hops toward the dugout and pumps his fist after striking out the Yankees’ Jayson Nix to strand a runner on second base and end his seventh and final inning.

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Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez hops toward the dugout and pumps his fist after striking out the Yankees’ Jayson Nix to strand a runner on second base and end his seventh and final inning.

NEW YORK — The Tigers got a big boost from Anibal Sanchez's arm. They got a helping hand from an umpire, too.

The reward: a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series and a trip home with their ace ready to start.

Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter, Detroit scored twice after an admitted missed call by an ump, and the Tigers won without any extra-inning drama, 3-0 Sunday.

"He was terrific," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of Sanchez. "This is a tough place to pitch with a tough lineup and a short porch and a whole bunch of left-handed hitters. It is not easy. That was quite a feat."

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Detroit, with reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander starting for the Tigers against Phil Hughes.

New York starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched perfect ball into the sixth inning to keep pace with Sanchez. But Robinson Cano and the slumping Yankees hitters were no match for the 28-year-old right-hander.

"I try to think backward," Sanchez said. "If the count calls for a fastball, I throw a different pitch. If the count calls for a different pitch, I throw a fastball. I try to mix my speeds."

Former Ray Delmon Young gave Sanchez his first run of support with a fielder's choice in the seventh. The Tigers then scored twice in the eighth after second-base umpire Jeff Nelson missed a call on a two-out tag at second base. Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued and was ejected on his 48th birthday.

The Tigers led 1-0 and had Omar Infante on first with two outs. Austin Jackson singled, and when Infante took a wide turn at second, rightfielder Nick Swisher threw behind him.

Cano made a swipe tag as Infante dived back. Cano missed Infante's arm but brushed his body, replays clearly showed. Nelson called Infante safe.

After seeing a replay, Nelson said, "The hand did not get in before the tag. The call was incorrect."

Said Infante, "I think the umpire got confused because he saw my hand, something with my hand made him think I was safe."

Was he out?

"Of course," Infante said.

Cano and Girardi pleaded to no avail. Boone Logan replaced Kuroda and gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia to make it 2-0.

"It's frustrating," Girardi said. "I don't have a problem with Jeff's effort, I don't, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change.

"These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. It is a tough call for him because the tag is underneath and it's hard for him to see. And it takes more time to argue and get upset than you get the call right. Too much is at stake."

Girardi returned to lift Logan for Joba Chamberlain, then remained on the field to resume the argument. Red-faced with neck muscles bulging, Girardi could be seen shouting at Nelson, "You were right there. How could you miss it?" He earned his first postseason ejection.

Team Pitcher Time W-L ERA Rec. W-L IP ERA

St. Louis Carpenter (R) 8:05 1-2 2.78 1-3 - -

San Francisco Vogelsong (R) p.m. 14-9 3.33 20-12 1-0 7.0 0.00

Slumbering bats

Numbers for some of the Yankees' key hitters, regular season and postseason:

Player Regular season Postseason

R. Cano .313, 33 HRs, 94 RBIs 2-for-32 (.063), 0 HRs, 4 RBIs

C. Granderson .232, 43 HRs, 106 RBIs 3-for-26 (.115), 1 HR, 1 RBI

N. Swisher .272, 24 HRs, 93 RBIs 4-for-26 (.154), 0 HRs, 1 RBI

A. Rodriguez .272, 18 HRs, 57 RBIs 3-for-23 (.130), 0 HRs, 0 RBIs

Tigers beat Yankees 3-0 to take 2-0 lead in AL Championship Series 10/14/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 1:26pm]
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