Justin Verlander is going to win the American League Cy Young award. He demonstrated tonight why he might also get the nod as A.L. MVP. Verlander fell behind early as the Yankees scored two runs right away in the first inning. He then got into his groove and put zeros on the scoreboard until his teammates could get him a lead. Verlander struck out 11 Yankee batters in 8 innings of work. The Yankees got to Verlander for two runs in the 7th to tie the game at 4-4. I certainly didn't expect Verlander to go back out there for the 8th, but after Delmon Young hit the first pitch he saw from reliever Rafael Soriano into the right field seats to put the Tigers ahead 5-4, there was J.V. mowing down the Yankees in the 8th.
Verlander threw 120 pitches, but was still throwing 100 mph and higher in the 8th inning. Besides Young, the Tigers got offensive production from Brandon Inge, who had two more hits and scored twice, and Ramon Santiago with two hits and two runs batted in. Don Kelly got a hit as a defensive replacement for Ordonez, and ended up scoring. Closer Jose Valverde pitched the 9th and turned up the drama to a whole new level. After throwing 30+ pitches to finish yesterday's game, Valverde appeared a bit wild tonight. Papa Grande put the tying and winning runs on a base before striking out Derek Jeter to end the game and rack up a postseason save. The win gives Detroit a 2-1 lead in the best of five series with New York. The Tigers could finish off the Yankees with a win Tuesday night. Rick Porcello will start for the Tigers against A.J. Burnett for the Yankees. Another 8:30 start means that this one could also end near midnight. I'll be staying up.