Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Phil Coke finished off Justin Verlander's masterpiece in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, as the Detroit Tigers put themselves on the verge of a World Series berth with another close win, 2-1, over the New York Yankees.
A solo homer by Delmon Young and an RBI double by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was all the offense the Tigers needed with their ace on the hill.
Over the first eight frames, Verlander (3-0) yielded just a pair of singles to Ichiro Suzuki. Eduardo Nunez ended the right-hander's string of 23 straight scoreless innings with a leadoff homer in the ninth, and Verlander was pulled after retiring Brett Gardner on a groundout.
Coke put the go-ahead run on base before fanning the red-hot Raul Ibanez to earn his second straight save, moving the Tigers one win away from their first trip to the Fall Classic since 2006.
Not even a lineup change by manager Joe Girardi, who has seemingly pressed all the right buttons this postseason, could revive New York's suddenly punchless offense.
Alex Rodriguez, a three-time league MVP, was benched for the second time in four games for Eric Chavez, while the struggling Nick Swisher was replaced by Gardner. Chavez went 0-for-3 and Gardner, in his first start since Apr. 17, also went hitless out of the leadoff spot.
Girardi used five relievers after starter Phil Hughes (0-1) exited early due to back stiffness with no outs in the fourth inning.
The Yankees will turn to CC Sabathia on Wednesday, while Detroit's Max Scherzer will look to finish off the sweep. Sabathia has won seven of his eight postseason decisions with New York, but Scherzer is 3-1 in four career starts against the Bronx Bombers.
For a complete game box score, click here
The Sports Network