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Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Verlander's fastball pushes Yanks to brink

By ESPN Stats & Information


Leon Halip/Getty Images Justin Verlander recorded 16 outs with his fastball in Tuesday’s win against the Yankees, matching a season high.
The final inning provided drama, but when it ended, it was the Detroit Tigers who were one win closer to a World Series berth, largely on the efforts of their ace Justin Verlander.

Verlander spun another gem Tuesday, extending his scoreless innings streak to 23 (dating back to Game 1 of the American League Division Series), before Eduardo Nunez ended it with his solo home run in the ninth inning.

He tied the Tigers postseason record set previously by Kenny Rogers in 2006.

The 23-inning streak is tied (along with Rogers) for the third-longest scoreless innings streak in a single postseason in MLB history.

Only Christy Mathewson (27 straight in 1905) and Lew Burdette (24 in 1957) have had longer streaks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It wasn't a typical Verlander performance in terms of strikeouts (three), but he allowed just one run in 8 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits.

The Yankees swung-and-missed at just eight Verlander pitches Tuesday (Verlander had 38 in his first two starts this postseason).

But missing less didn’t translate into balls in play. The Yankees hit 35 foul balls, one shy of the season high against Verlander (36 by the Reds).

And of his three hits allowed, Verlander’s fastball yielded just one (Ichiro Suzuki’s 7th-inning single). His fastball was clocked at 97 mph or faster 27 times.

This postseason, Verlander has allowed just two earned runs (both on solo home runs) in 24 1/3 innings (0.74 ERA).

Detroit’s starting pitching, in general, has been incredible.

The home run by Nunez ended a streak of 37 straight innings without allowing an earned run by Tigers starting pitchers, the longest such stretch in MLB postseason history.

JUST ENOUGH OFFENSE
With a dominant Verlander on the hill, the Tigers mustered just enough offense for the win.

Delmon Young hit his seventh career postseason home run for the first run of the game. Five of those home runs have been against the Yankees.

And Miguel Cabrera pushed across what proved to be the game-winning run with his RBI double in the fifth inning. He extended his hit streak to 16 in League Championship Series games, the longest such streak in LCS history.

YANKEES IN TROUBLE
As for the Yankees, they've now gone three straight games without having a lead. History has not favored them in those instances.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is just the third time the Yankees have played at least three straight games in a single postseason without once having the lead -- and both of those series ended in sweeps.

In the 1963 World Series, the Yankees did not lead in any of their four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And in 1976, the Yankees did not have a lead in the first three games in their World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds (eventually swept).