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Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez pitched a gem Sunday night, shutting out the once-mighty New York Yankees offense over seven innings, striking out seven along the way. With closer Jose Valverde bumped out of his stopper role following two blown saves in three nights, left-hander Phil Coke took over for Sanchez in the eighth and continued where the righty starter left off, striking out three over two innings and preserving a 3-0 Game 2 victory for the Tigers.
For Tigers blogger Al Beaton at Bless You Boys, Sanchez's stellar outing was yet another demonstration of how Detroit's starting pitching makes them almost impossible to eliminate:
Thanks to Sanchez's seven shutout innings, the the playoff ERA for the Tigers' starting rotation has dropped to a ridiculously good 0.94. Good? No, that's INSANE.
The Tigers' starters have combined to throw 29 2/3 shutout innings, 1 inning away from breaking the record of 30 1/3, set by the 1974 Oakland Athletics.
This is why the Tigers are going to be such a tough out in the playoffs.
The Tigers and Yankees will both travel to Detroit on Monday to prepare for Games 3-5, which will be played at Comerica Park. The Tigers need just two home victories to reach the World Series for the second time in the last six seasons.
Justin Verlander will attempt to continue shutting down opposing offenses in Game 3 on Tuesday. The ace right-hander set a Division Series record with 22 strikeouts in his two starts against the A's.
Game 3 is set to start at 8 p.m. ET and will be aired on TBS.