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ALDS Game 3: Verlander, Tigers hang on, shove Yankees to brink

Score and situation: In the second outstanding playoff game of the day, the Detroit Tigers outlasted the New York Yankees, winning 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the ALDS.

[Related: Grown-up Justin Verlander grinds out a Tigers victory]

Leading lads: Delmon Young(notes) has been good for the Tigers after being way, way below average for the Twins. But his solo home run against Rafael Soriano(notes) — on a first-pitch fastball, of course — could help make him a Detroit sports legend. It gave the Tigers a one-run lead in the seventh after the Yankees had scratched two runs across against Verlander to tie the score a half-inning before.

Watch Young reach the seats

Verlander had a wildly inconsistent game; he struggled early, got to dominating in the middle innings with the fastest of fastballs and the most wicked of curves. He had a fit of wildness that helped the Yankees tie the score in the top of the seventh, but his 120th and final pitch in the eighth registered at 99 mph.

Head hangers: CC Sabathia(notes) was fortunate to allow four runs after giving up seven hits and six walks over 5 1/3 innings. Thanks to the Yankees turning three double plays over the first three innings, the outcome was in doubt until the final at-bat. Soriano — or whomever called the first-pitch fastball — should know how good Young is on the first pitch in his career (179 for 516 — a .347 average — with 35 doubles and 20 homers). Mark Teixeira(notes) went 0-for-4 and is 1-for-11 in the series.

[Slideshow: Justin Verlander outduels CC Sabathia]

Key play: The way the game was going, it wouldn't have been unexpected for the Yankees to tie the score or even go ahead in the ninth. And, as Yogi Berra might have said, it ain't over till it's over. But Jose Valverde(notes) struck out Derek Jeter(notes) with runners at first and second to make it over.

What they'll be talking about: The inconsistent strike zone of umpire Gerry Davis was frequently complained about on Twitter and, presumably, elsewhere. Also, you can't win the World Series every year, but it's always a big deal when the Yankees don't make it. One more loss, and they're out.

What's next: On Tuesday night at Comerica Park, the Yankees put the fate of their season in the hands of struggling right-hander A.J. Burnett(notes). Gulp.

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