NEW YORK (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit Tigers have a four-run lead wiped out in the bottom of the ninth but persevere to beat the New York Yankees 6-4 in extra innings on Saturday.
As heard on 97.1 The Ticket – the Tigers hang on to take the first game in the best of seven series against the Yankees in the AL championship series in dramatic fashion in the 12th inning.
Delmon Young doubled home the go-ahead run in the 12th inning after New York’s Raul Ibanez hit another stunning game-tying home run during a four-run rally in the ninth, and the Detroit Tigers outlasted the Yankees in the series opener in which Derek Jeter was helped off the field with what appeared to be a serious leg injury and was confirmed post-game as a broken left ankle.
Jeter rolled over his knee when he dove in an attempt to glove Jhonny Peralta’s grounder up the middle in the 12th. Unable to move, he flipped the ball toward the mound and his leg was dangling as he was assisted off by manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue.
Detroit was coasting to a 4-0 win before the Yankees rocked Tigers closer Jose Valverde in the ninth.
Ichiro Suzuki started the comeback with a two-run homer with one out, and the 40-year-old Ibanez hit another two-run drive with two outs. Three nights earlier, Ibanez hit a tying home run in the ninth against Baltimore in Game 3 of the division series and another homer in the 12th to win.
Young’s one-out double off David Phelps, which followed a leadoff walk by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, sliced in right and eluded Nick Swisher, who appeared ready to dive but couldn’t get his glove out when he realized the ball was closer to him than he had thought.
Young drove in three runs, hitting an RBI single in a two-run sixth against Andy Pettitte and a solo homer in the eighth against Derek Lowe.
Rookie Avisail Garcia singled in a run against Boone Logan, and Andy Dirks added an RBI single in the 12th on a comebacker that glanced off Phelps’ pitching hand.
Drew Smyly, who had started warming up in the third when starter Doug Fister took a line drive off his right wrist, got the win by pitching two scoreless innings.
In Game 2 on Sunday night, New York starts Hiroki Kuroda, pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his big league career.
Detroit sends Anibal Sanchez to the mound.
Twenty-five of 42 previous Game 1 winners have gone on to take the AL pennant.
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