Jose Valverde guarantees series win

Updated: October 4, 2011, 8:44 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- How's this for a guarantee?

After closing out the Detroit Tigers' win over the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday, closer Jose Valverde believes the Tigers are a lock to win the series.

"I think the series will finish in our house," Valverde told ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas and other outlets. "They have a good team, but the series is not (coming) back to New York."

The Yankees and Tigers are tied at 1-1 in the best-of-five series. The teams split two games in the Bronx. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday in Detroit. It will be a duel of aces -- Detroit's Justin Verlander and New York's CC Sabathia.

"We have a big advantage," said Valverde, who was 49-for-49 in regular-season save chances. "We have Verlander ready for tomorrow. In the bullpen, we are ready."

Valverde made a similar guarantee in interviews given in English but said that he was joking. He did not say he was joking in the interview with Spanish-speaking outlets.

Valverde entered Game 2 in the ninth with Detroit up 5-1 and quickly made things interesting.

The closer allowed a solo homer to Nick Swisher to lead off the inning. Jorge Posada then followed with a triple to deep center. After a Valverde walk to Russell Martin, Andruw Jones drove in Posada with a sacrifice fly, cutting the Tigers' lead to two runs.

With a heavy rain falling, Valverde struck Yankees' captain Derek Jeter out on a 2-2 fastball. He then appeared to get a game-winning pop-out in foul territory off the bat of Curtis Granderson, but catcher Alex Avila slipped on the surface of the on-deck circle and failed to make the catch.

Granderson eventually worked a walk, putting the winning run at the plate in Robinson Cano, who had six RBIs in Game 1.

But Cano grounded to second to end the game.

"Thank God my team won," Valverde said.

The closer also guaranteed that he'd be available for Monday's game. "I can pitch in 11 straight," he said.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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