Gotta hand it to the New York Yankees, with their backs to the wall and their season on the line, they didn't back down and showed the Detroit Tigers exactly why you can never count them out in a 10-1 win on Tuesday night. Game ball has to go to Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett who logged 5 2/3 effective innings on a night where the a quality start was essential.
"Maybe it took me 25-30 to get loose, maybe. I don't know. I was just letting it go. And if it didn't go for a strike, it didn't go. I wasn't worried about it," Burnett said. "I was able to find somewhat of a rhythm after that. It was a little nerve-racking in the first. I hadn't been out there in a while."
What Burnett is referring to in those comments was a first inning that could have proved disastrous to him and the Yankee's chances of advancing. Burnett loaded the bases in the first inning and then the Tigers Don Kelly ripped a line drive ball towards center that had the look of scoring three runs easy.
Luckily for Burnett center-fielder Curtis Granderson made a leaping catch to stop the Tigers from taking the early lead. What made the catch even better was that Granderson initially misjudged the ball and took a step forward before reversing direction to barely snag the ball. A wrong step may not sound like much but in that situation, it could very easily put a player out of position to make the play.
"If I miss that one, there's nothing there but the wall back there and some ivy," Granderson said. "Who knows what could have happened at that point — especially with it being the first inning. We get behind in an elimination game, here in Detroit, the fans stay in it.
Burnett hasn't been the Yanks favorite pitcher, being mostly a disappointment after signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with New York, and wasn't expected to make the start, but circumstance required him to step up and step up he did, much to the surprise of New York fans everywhere. In fact, the only people not surprised may have been the Detroit Tigers themselves.
"I told you, his stuff is so good that he can shut you down. I thought we hit some balls pretty decent. He wasn't real sharp early. We had our shot," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That was a big play in the first inning."
Game 5 is Thursday night in New York and rookie right-hander Ivan Nova will make the start for the Yanks while Doug Fister gets the nod for Detroit. Both came on as relievers Saturday after Game 1 began Friday night but was halted after 1½ innings.
Start time is 8 pm EST.
Philadelphia is up 2-1 on the St Louis Cardinals.
Texas eliminated Tampa Bay
Milwaukee is up 2-1 on Arizona
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