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Yankees 10, Tigers 1: Yanks Send Series Back to Bronx

A.J. Burnett turned in a quality outing in his most important start as a Yankee and was backed by ten runs as the Yankees forced a decisive Game 5, defeating the Tigers 10-1 on Tuesday night. 

Burnett struggled in the first inning, loading the bases via three walks. With two outs, Don Kelly lined out to Curtis Granderson, who got a poor read on the ball before making a fantastic recovery to make the catch, ending the inning and the bases loaded threat in the process. Following the first, Burnett shut the Tigers down, with his only mistake a 3-1 fastball that Victor Martinez launched into the right field seats. 

Burnett's final line was 5 2/3 innings, four hits, four walks, three strikeouts, and one run. It's not a pretty line, but it looks worse than he actually pitched. Burnett was everything the Yankees needed.

The bullpen trio of Rafael Soriano, Phil Hughes, and Boone Logan was absolutely dominant, combining for 3 1/3 perfect innings with six strikeouts. 

For the offense, Derek Jeter gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the third with a double over Austin Jackson's head, driving in Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, whose fantastic slide enabled him to score.

In the fifth, Curtis Granderson's RBI double and Alex Rodriguez's sac-fly gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead. After trading zeros in the sixth and seventh, the Yankees broke the game open with six runs in the eighth behind a balk, an RBI single from Jesus Montero, an RBI single from Brett Gardner, a wild pitch, and a 2-RBI single from Robinson Cano.

Well, Jose Valverde was wrong. This series is going back to the Bronx behind great pitching and a ton of runs. 

Ivan Nova, keep it going, and send this team to the ALCS. 

Box Score.

Play of the Game: Jeter's RBI double (+17.9%).

Thoughts and observations:

  • Let's give A.J. Burnett an ovation. The man struggled mightily in the first inning and shook it off to give the Yankees their biggest win of the 2011 season. Let's say that again. A.J. Burnett gave the Yankees their biggest win of the season.
  • Curtis Granderson made an amazing diving catch after Burnett was taken out for Rafael Soriano. Jhonny Peralta hit a fly ball into left-center field and Granderson ranged far to his right to make an unbelievable, Superman inspired diving catch.
  • The bullpen was fantastic. Rafael Soriano looked great, striking out one in a perfect inning and a third. Phil Hughes looked better, striking out two in a perfect inning. Boone Logan looked the best, striking out the side in order. All three went down swinging.
  • Alex Rodriguez went hitless through the first 34 innings of this series, but had two hits in the Yankees' six run eighth. 
  • In his first postseason game, Jesus Montero went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run.
  • After struggling with RISP early in this series, the Yankees went 6-for-14 (.429) with RISP tonight.
  • The Yankees had twenty five (25) baserunners tonight: 13 hits, 10 walks, and 2 HBPs.