With the rain, the Yankees and Tigers took two days to complete Game 1. But the rain didn’t dampen the hot bat of Robinson Cano, who matched a Yankees postseason record with 6 RBIs in a 9-3 victory to put the Yankees ahead 1-0 in the best-of-5 series.
Because tonight’s game was a resumption of the game started yesterday, the two starting pitchers tonight were actually relieving the aces Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia. Doug Fister got the task of continuing what their ace and Cy Young favorite started by pitching in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Ivan Nova got his first taste of postseason work with tonight’s relief appearance in the 1-1 tie.
Until the 5th inning, Fister had the Yankees offense figured out. Some convenient missteps on the bases helped Fister escape an early jam but a review of a run-scoring double led to just one run instead of what could have been a two-run home run. The 6th inning was Fister’s undoing and it may have also been with a questionable choice of relief pitchers by manager Jim Leyland. With 2 outs, Brett Gardner drove in two runs to make the 2-1 game a 4-1 game. A single and a walk loaded the bases and ended the night for Fister. With left-handed pitcher Phil Coke and right-handed pitcher Al Alburquerque warming up, the usual choice would be to bring in Phil Coke to face Robinson Cano, even if he’s got good numbers against both lefties and righties.
Jim Leyland went with Al Alburquerque to face Robinson Cano with the bases loaded. Robinson Cano has hit well with the bases loaded and did just that as he hit a long grand slam to put the Yankees ahead 8-1. This home run was the first home run that Alburquerque gave up in his major league career. He would later tack on one more run with another double without the need of instant replay. The 9-1 lead would be more than enough for the Yankees reliever/starting pitcher.
Ivan Nova went 6.1 innings in relief of Sabathia’s 2 inning start from yesterday. After getting the 1st out in the 9th, he gave up two singles and a walk before being removed from the game to a nice ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Luis Ayala got one out but loaded the bases again and that led to Joe Girardi calling upon Mariano Rivera to end the game and he did so with 3 pitches and a strikeout.
The way that the game progressed, it seemed as if everything was in favor of the Yankees. Despite Jorge Posada being caught between home and 3rd base, the Tigers were unfortunate in other various times. On a single in the 5th inning, catcher Alex Avila was sent home from 2nd and was thrown out by a perfect relay from Curtis Granderson to Derek Jeter to Russell Martin. Then in the 6th inning, the former Yankees farmhand Austin Jackson attempted a steal of 2nd base when Magglio Ordonez hit a ground ball right to 2nd base for Robinson Cano to turn a double play that even he couldn’t make look any easier. On the other side of the game, the Yankees executed perfect hit-and-run plays involving a stealing Brett Gardner and a typical Jeter hit going into right field. Simply put, in tonight’s resumption of Game One, the Yankees had almost everything in their favor as the series continues tomorrow.