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Verlander Tosses Gem, Tigers Take 3-0 Lead

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers gestures as he walks back to the dugout after he was taken out of the game in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees during game three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Justin Verlander’s 8 1/3 inning masterpiece in Game 3 of the ALCS lead Detroit to a 2-1 victory and has the Tigers just one game from the World Series .

Delmon Young broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer in the fourth inning and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera slugged an RBI double in the fifth to give Detroit a 2-0 lead, which it held into the top of the ninth.

Verlander gave up just two hits through the first eight frames – both to Ichiro Suzuki – before his 23-scoreless innings streak ended with Eduardo Nunez’s lead off homer in the ninth.

Verlander, who moved to 3-0 with an 0.74 ERA this postseason, retired Brett Gardner before his night ended.

Phil Coke got the next out but allowed the tying and winning runs on base with back-to-back singles to Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano – who ended an 0-29 playoff slump. But Coke struck out Raul Ibanez on a 3-2 pitch to pick his second straight save since taking temporary control of the closer’s role for the Tigers following Jose Valverde’s four-run ninth inning meltdown in Game 1.

Alex Rodriguez was benched for the second time this postseason, while Nick Swisher was pulled for the starting lineup as well.

With Ibanez at the plate in the final inning, Swisher appeared in the batters box, being tapped by Joe Girardi instead of A-Rod, although the Yankees hopes of another dramatic ninth ended with Ibanez.

Phil Hughes was removed after three-plus innings due to back stiffness – he allowed three hits and three walks, including Young’s homer.

David Robertson worked an inning in relief, giving up Cabrera’s running scoring double, although the run was unearned due to an Eric Chavez fielding error.

Of his dinger, Young said after the game, “I knew I hit it hard enough, but we weren’t in Yankee Stadium so I knew I’d have to wait another 30 feet or so for it to come down.”

The Yankees will turn to CC Sabathia on Wednesday night to try to force at Game 5 against the Tigers’ Max Scherzer.

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