DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers are closing in on earning their first trip to the World Series since 2006.
Max Scherzer didn't give up a hit through five innings and got plenty of run support as the Tigers led the New York Yankees 6-1 through six innings Thursday in Game 4 of the AL championship series.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera — with the Comerica Park crowd chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P!" — hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Jhonny Peralta followed with another two-run shot in the pivotal inning against CC Sabathia.
New York's Eduardo Nunez broke up Scherzer's no-hit bid with a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored on Nick Swisher's double.
Alex Rodriguez, who was left out of the starting lineup, got a chance to redeem himself when Yankees manager Joe Girardi used him as a pinch-hitter with two on and two outs in the sixth. And, Rodriguez failed to take advantage by hitting an inning-ending, weakly hit fly to center.
Scherzer struck out a career playoff-high 10 and gave up just two hits, one run and walked two over 5 2-3 innings.
The Yankees wished they had gotten a similar performance from their ace.
Sabathia lasted just 3 2-3 innings because the Tigers were teeing off on him with 11 hits, six runs — five earned — and striking out just three times.
It didn't take long to see Sabathia didn't have his best stuff.
Delmon Young had one of three hits for the Tigers in the first, including a two-out RBI single. Young is the only player in baseball history to have game-winning RBIs in three straight games of a postseason series, according to STATS LLC. Tigers rookie Avisail Garcia drove in a run in the third to put the Tigers ahead 2-0.
Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were left out of New York's starting lineup for Game 4, a day after the game was postponed by rain. Rodriguez started the game on the bench for the third time in nine postseason games and fell to 3 for 24 with no RBIs in these playoffs after his pinch-hit flyout.
To make matters worse for the Yankees, they played poor defense — especially reliable first baseman Mark Teixeira — and didn't get a good performance from Sabathia when they needed it most.
If New York rallied to avoid elimination, Game 5 would start at 4:07 p.m. Friday in Detroit.