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Tigers 8, Yankees 1

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Jhonny Peralta homered twice, and the Detroit Tigers sweep the punchless New York Yankees from the American League Championship Series with an 8-1 victory Thursday to gain their first World Series berth since 2006.

Detroit will play the winner of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals when the World Series opens in the NL park next week. St. Louis beat Detroit in the 2006 World Series after the Tigers had nearly a week's wait.

Scherzer struck out 10 batters in 5 2/3 innings to spotlight a brilliant turn through the rotation by Detroit pitchers. Phil Coke finished his third straight game with two innings of shutout, hitless relief.

Delmon Young, who hit .353 (6-for-17) with two homers and six RBI, was a unanimous selection as the series MVP.

New York scored in just three of 39 ALCS innings, forcing manager Joe Girardi to junk his regular lineup after only two games.

Alex Rodriguez, who finished 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts in the playoffs, didn't start either of the last two games. He came off the bench to go 0-for-2 Thursday.

Curtis Granderson, 3-for-30 with 16 postseason strikeouts, did not start the last game. He struck out as a pinch hitter.

Nick Swisher, 5-for-30 with 10 whiffs since the regular season ended, was not in the Game 3 starting lineup. His sixth-inning double drove in the Yankees' only run in Game 4.

Detroit pecked out single runs in the first and third innings off a struggling CC Sabathia, then exploded for four in the fourth on a pair of two-run home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Peralta.

However, it was the armed forces of the Detroit starters that kept New York from uprising. The Yankees hit 245 home runs during the regular season and three against the Tigers. Two came in the ninth inning of Game 1, by Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez. The other, by Eduardo Nunez, came off Justin Verlander in the ninth inning of Game 3.

Doug Fister worked six scoreless innings in the first game, Anibal Sanchez allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings of the second game, Verlander didn't allow a run until Nunez' home run in Game 3, and Scherzer faced two over the minimum through five innings of Game 4 (a two-out error plus a walk in the third).

Scherzer got an out after Nunez hit a hanging slider for a sixth-inning triple, then gave Swisher's RBI double. Tigers manager Jim Leyland removed the right-hander after Scherzer walked Mark Teixeira with two outs.

Austin Jackson hit his first home run of the ALCS leading off the seventh to make it 7-1, and Peralta supplied his second home run of the game for an 8-1 lead in the eighth.

If there were a turning point in the series, it came in the first game, when New York rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie in the ninth but couldn't close the deal in extra innings, Detroit rallying for two in the 12th to win 6-4. In the same game, the Yankees lost shortstop Derek Jeter to a broken ankle.

Sabathia struggled right from the start in Game 4 despite the rainout Wednesday giving him extra rest.

He allowed six hits but only two runs through the first three innings, but it took him 73 pitches to get to the fourth.

Omar Infante singled with one out in the fourth, and Triple Crown winner Cabrera, who had been measuring Sabathia from his first at-bat, crushed an inside fastball for a home run and a 4-0 Detroit lead. It was only the fifth home run Cabrera has hit off a left-handed pitcher this year.

The Yankees pitched Cabrera inside in New York so he couldn't use his prodigious power to the opposite field and take advantage of the short Yankee Stadium right field. Cabrera picked up right away that the Yankees were going to stay with that tactic in Game 4. Sabathia's first pitch after Infante's single leaked a little over the plate, and Cabrera launched it deep to left.

Young followed with a ground single to left, and Peralta put a high breaking ball into the left field seats for a 6-0 Tigers lead.

Sabathia gave up three singles in the first, including an RBI liner to right by Young, who has been on fire in the postseason for the second year in a row. A two-out error by Teixeira at first loaded the bases in the third inning, and rookie Avisail Garcia beat out a single up the middle to extend the lead to 2-0.

Sabathia wound up allowing six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings. It was a stunning turnaround for the Yankees ace, who had a 1.53 ERA while beating the Oakland A's twice in the first round of the AL Division Series.

NOTES: One team has run out to a 3-0 lead five times since the ALCS best-of-seven format debuted in 1985, including Detroit this year, and four of the series ended in sweeps. The 2004 Boston Red Sox were the only team to extend a series to five games, and they went on to win the World Series. ... The Yankees entered Thursday with a 2.25 team ERA in the postseason, their lowest since the 1961 team dispatched the Cincinnati Reds with a 1.60 team ERA. New York had won the World Series in each of 13 seasons it had a team ERA under 2.50. ... The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by former catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who started the franchise back from oblivion when he signed as a free agent following the 2003 season. "I came after the World Series with the (Florida) Marlins in 2003," he said. "That year was the year (the Tigers) lost 119. Everybody was telling me, 'Why did you come to Detroit?' I saw the talent. They tried to rebuild the team. When we were talking in the negotiations, (GM Dave Dombrowski) told me he was putting a winning team together. I signed, Magglio (Ordonez) signed. They got a trade for (Carlos) Guillen and then (Miguel) Cabrera. In 2006, we were in the World Series like they told me."
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