Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers made the plays, benefited from an admitted missed call by an umpire and delivered during their few good opportunities at the plate.
The reward: a commanding 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series, and a trip home with their ace ready to start.
Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter, and Detroit won without any drama this time, beating New York 3-0 Sunday.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched perfect ball into the sixth inning. But the slumping New York hitters looked lost a day after their captain broke his ankle in the 12th inning of a 6-4 loss.
Making his second postseason start, Sanchez threw three-hit ball deep into the game to make Tigers manager Jim Leyland’s job much easier. A day after closer Jose Valverde gave up four runs in the ninth, Leyland said the righty wouldn’t close Game 2.
“I thought we hung in there and took advantage of a couple of things,” Leyland said. “And those are some of the things you need in postseason play. You never know how it’s going to play out.”
The Tigers 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 hand did not get in before the tag,” Nelson said after seeing a replay. “The call was incorrect.”
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Detroit, with reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander starting for the Tigers against Phil Hughes. Verlander went 2-0 in the division series versus Oakland, including a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in the decisive Game 5.