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Big League Stew

ALCS Game 2: Anibal Sanchez and Tigers take 2-0 series lead after four-hit shutout of Yankees

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(AP)

Score and situation: The Detroit Tigers took advantage of a flagging New York Yankees offense and a late blown call to record a 3-0 win in Game 2 of the ALCS on Sunday. The victory gives them a two games to none lead in the series as it shifts to Detroit for the middle three games.

Leading lads: Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez pitched just the way the Tigers wanted him to when they acquired him in a midseason trade from Miami. The righthander threw seven scoreless innings, striking out seven while allowing three hits and three walks to the Yankees lineup. New York starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched even better by carrying a perfect game into the sixth inning, but gave up three runs (only  one of which was truly earned) and was stuck with the hard-luck loss after striking out a career-high 11 batters through 7 2/3 innings.

[Related: Yankees try to disguise empty seats at ALCS by moving fans ]

Head hangers:  Robinson Cano is your new poster child for the inefficiency of the Yankees offense, which managed only four hits on the night. Cano went 0 for 4 to extend his hitless streak to 0 for 26, the longest drought in postseason history. No one in the New York lineup, however, was exempt from blame as the Yankees offense continued to struggle.

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(Getty Images)

Second base umpire Jeff Nelson belongs in this spot too after blowing a call at second base. Though Cano's tag looked pretty evident for an out, Nelson ruled that Omar Infante was safe after trying to return to the bag and the inning was allowed to continue (though not before Joe Girardi was thrown out of the game for arguing the call). The Tigers used the opportunity to tack on two insurance runs to Kuroda's tab that they wouldn't end up needing any way.

Key play: Quintin Berry led off the top of the seventh with a ground-rule double. He'd later score the first run of the game on a fielder's choice by Delmon Young.

Interesting stat: Sunday's game was the first Yankees postseason game that didn't feature Derek Jeter in the lineup since Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS. Jeter had played 158 straight postseason game for the Yankees, a streak that ended after he fractured his ankle in the 12th inning of Game 1 on Saturday night.

What they'll be talking about: There will be a lot of instant replay talk as a blown call against the Yankees stood out in both Games 1 and 2. But they're not solely to blame as the Yankees just cannot hit the ball. Expect a lot lineup dissection over the next two days as New York tries to figure out what went wrong. As for the Tigers, it's all about their stellar starting pitching. You have to have good efforts from your starters if you want to win a World Series and Detroit's pitchers are doing just that. They've thrown 29 scoreless innings since Sanchez surrendered a homer in Game 3 of the ALDS and have a collective 0.93 ERA over 48 innings pitched this postseason.

What's next: The series shifts to Detroit's Comerica Park for Tuesday's Game 3 at 8:07 p.m. ET. Justin Verlander gets the start for Detroint and can put the Tigers on the brink of the World Series with a win. Phil Hughes is scheduled to start for the Yankees with Girardi still insisting that he won't move up Game 4 starter CC Sabathia to pitch on short rest.

Make sure all your bases are covered this postseason ...
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