Friday, October 7, 2011

Rookie Doug Fister Wins Game Five, Sends Tigers to ALCS; NL in Dual Game Five Showdown Friday

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 6, 2011

American League

Tigers 3 Yankees 2

Detroit's Doug Fister shut down the vaunted Yankee offensive machine over the first five innings of their game five showdown, limiting the Bombers to one earned run on five hits, walking two and striking out four.

Doug Fister: Rookie
Game Five Winner
First inning, back-to-back home runs by Don Kelly and Delmon Young off Yankee starter Ivan Nova gave Fister a working margin of two runs before he even set foot on the mound, and the rookie hurler responded with a solid, pressure-packed performance.

The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the 4th inning, but Fister responded, getting Russell Martin and Brett Gardner to pop out on successive at-bats.

When the Tigers scored another run in the top of the 5th, the Yankee response was a solo homer off the bat of Robinson Cano. Max Scherzer replaced Fister on the mound to open the 6th inning, got through that, but was lifted for Joaquin Benoit after Derek Jeter's one out single in the 7th.

After allowing consecutive singles to Curtis Granderson and Cano, Benoit struck out Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded, but forced in a run, walking Mark Teixeira to cut Detroit's lead to a single run. Benoit reared back and got Nick Swisher to strike out, ending the threat.

In the 8th, all the Yankees could muster was a two-out single from Brett Gardner, and Jose Valverde came on for a perfect 9th inning, sending the Yankees home and the Tigers to the AL Championship Series with the Texas Rangers. The game ended when Valverde struck out Alex Rodriguez. It was A-Rod's third whiff of the game and sixth of the series, in which the slugger went 2-for-18 (.111) with no homers and three RBI.

Mark Teixeira, the slugger batting behind Rodriguez, had an equally-non-productive series, going 3-for-18 (.167) with no home runs and just one RBI.

Standouts for the Yankees were Brett Gardner (.418), who drove in a team-high six runs but did not steal a base. Gardner tied the A's Coco Crisp for the league lead in steals with 49 during the regular season. Jorge Posada had the highest average (.429) for the Yankees, but failed to drive in a single run.

The Tigers were led by Delmon Young, who socked three solo homers, and the unassuming Don Kelly, who had a hit in each of the final four games, going 4-for11 (.364) with two RBI and three runs.

Magglio Ordonez was the best hitter in the series, going 5-for-11 for a .455 batting average.

The seven game series to determine the AL entrant to the World Series between the Tigers and Rangers begins Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

National League

There were no National League games as the four playoff participants prepared for critical game five match-ups on a winner-take-all Friday.

Arizona is at Milwaukee for a 5:07 pm EDT start, while the Phillies host the Cardinals at 8:37 pm EDT.

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