October 05, 2011
Score and situation: With their backs against the wall, the New York Yankees extended their season with a 10-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night. The series is now all squared at 2-2 with the decisive Game 5 slated for Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
Leading lads: Russell Martin(notes) and Brett Gardner(notes) provided a nice spark at the bottom of the Yankees order, each collecting two hits and scoring twice. Together they helped open the door to an offensive onslaught that included contributions from all nine spots in New York's order.
Head hangers: Detroit's bullpen was unable to keep them in the game late. Trailing only 4-1, former Yankee Phil Coke(notes) would allow three runs in his one plus inning. Al Alburquerque(notes) then continued his struggles from Game 1, balking a run home and failing to record an out.
Key play: Curtis Granderson's(notes) first inning leaping grab of Don Kelly's(notes) line drive helped A.J. Burnett(notes) escape a bases loaded jam. Granderson appeared to misread the ball initially, which caused many a heart in New York to skip a beat, but recovered just in time to make the grab. Had it made it over his head, at least three runs would have scored, and the outlook of the game would have been significantly altered.
What they'll be talking about: Despite a slow start, A.J. Burnett exceeded everybody not named Joe Girardi's expectations with his 5 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. For all of the criticism Girardi has drawn, his faith in Burnett and his decision to stick with the struggling right-hander in an elimination game should now become a positive talking point.
What's next: Someone's ticket to the ALCS will be punched Thursday night. Doug Fister(notes) will get the call for Detroit. The Yankees will counter with Ivan Nova(notes). C.J. Wilson(notes) and the Texas Rangers await the winner on Saturday night.
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