Justin Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Tuesday night for a 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.
Phil Coke gave up consecutive singles with two outs in the ninth before striking out postseason star Raul Ibanez for his second save in two games.
Verlander allowed only a pair of singles by Ichiro Suzuki and a leadoff homer by Eduardo Nunez in the ninth. Delmon Young hit a solo home run for the Tigers, and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI double.
Yankees starter Phil Hughes was lifted in the fourth because of a stiff back, and manager Joe Girardi’s lineup shuffle — Alex Rodriguez was benched again — failed to snap New York out of its untimely hitting funk.
The Tigers were on a historic pitching run even before their ace took the mound Tuesday.
Nunez’s homer snapped a streak of 37 innings by Detroit starters without allowing an earned run, the longest in a single postseason in the live-ball era.
Verlander fell just short of a second straight shutout after stopping the A’s in the decisive fifth game of the division series. He struck out only three but kept New York off the scoreboard until the homer to left field by Nunez, the first run allowed by the powerful right-hander since he gave up a leadoff homer to Coco Crisp in Game 1 of the ?AL Division Series.