What looked to be yet another historic day for the New York Yankees quickly transformed into a 0-2 deficit in the ALCS.
The Detroit Tigers played spoiler to the home team again in Game 2, breaking up a perfect game by hurler Hiroki Kuroda in the sixth inning en route to a 3-0 victory in Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Delmon Young grounded into a fielder's choice in the seventh inning, plating left fielder Quintin Berry who started the inning with a lead-off, ground rule double.
Controversy occurred in the eighth when Omar Infante was caught off the bag at second base. Russell Martin snapped a throw to Robinson Cano, but umpire Jeff Nelson called him safe. The debate for instant replay in baseball will only rage on, as Infante scored an insurance run after an RBI single by pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera added one more with a run-scoring single later in the inning.
Former Yankee Phil Coke slammed the door, striking out Curtis Granderson to end the game. That was a welcome sight for Tigers fans who have suffered through the trials and tribulations of typical Tigers closer Jose Valverde.
Tweets of the Night:
Major League Baseball's official account broke the news of what turned out to be the beginning of the end for Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.
MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2012
ESPN analyst Steve Berthiaume summed up the vitality of second base umpire Jeff Nelson's infamous call.
Grades for Key Players
Hiroki Kuroda: B
It was the second consecutive game that the Yankees failed to provide any run support for their starting pitcher. Under those circumstances, Kuroda performed as well as anyone could have asked of him through five innings. Going on three days' rest, Kuroda simply ran out of steam once the seal on perfection was broken. He was stingy after letting up his first hit, managing to strike out 11 for the game. But the terrible call at second base wound up being Kuroda's undoing.
Anibal Sanchez: A
Seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball is fantastic against such a high-powered offense. Sanchez mixed it up and definitely had his best stuff. Giving Justin Verlander the extra rest was huge, and Sanchez—despite a so-so 3.86 ERA during the regular season—turned in a wonderful outing.
Once again, it seems A-Rod's spectacular postseason in 2009 was a fluke. He managed a single in the ninth inning, but he continues to be a massive disappointment as the Yankees' most talented hitter. Any World Series hopes the team has will certainly be dashed if he doesn't help pick up the slack.
Miguel Cabrera: A-
The superstar stepped up for the Tigers, capitalizing on the extended eighth inning by improving Detroit's cushion to 3-0 in the eighth. Had he not, the game-tying run would have been at the plate for New York in the bottom of the ninth. That helped take pressure off of Phil Coke
Phil Coke: A
After Game 1's ninth inning collapse in which Raul Ibanez launched a two-run shot to tie the game, Coke had to ironically face Ibanez himself to lead off the inning. Other than the harmless single by Rodriguez, Coke was stellar; striking out the side in the final frame. He also came in to relieve Starter Anibal Sanchez in the eighth, retiring the side in an easy 1-2-3 inning.
The series heads back to Comerica Park with Detroit ace Justin Verlander set to take the rubber and give the Tigers a nearly impossible lead for New York to overcome.
Superstar Yankees Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson have only one hit in the series—a single by A-Rod in the ninth inning of Game 2.
New York will have to muster some sort of offense moving forward to keep themselves in this series.