Yankees 10, Tigers 1
Rick Porcello pitched a couple balls over the middle of the plate, and the New York Yankees took advantage.
Derek Jeter drilled one of Porcello's miscues for a two-run double in the third inning, and Curtis Granderson crushed another for an RBI double in the fifth. New York took control early and routed the Detroit Tigers 10-1 Tuesday night to even their AL division series at two games apiece.
''Fortunately for me, he left one up,'' Jeter said. ''I'm sure it was a mistake on his part.''
The Tigers had a chance to advance at home, but now they'll have try to do it in New York in a win-or-go-home Game 5 on Thursday night. Detroit hopes Doug Fister will fare better than he did in the completion of the suspended opener against Ivan Nova. Fister, who was sensational for the Tigers after being acquired at the trade deadline, gave up six runs Saturday in the Yankees' 9-3 win.
''Every kid dreams about being in this position, and it is an honor that I'm going to be the one pitching this game,'' Fister said. ''But I'm not going to be thinking about that once I get on the mound. I'm going to approach this game and attack this game just like I do every other game.''
It will be the first postseason series involving the Tigers that went to the maximum games since 1972, when Detroit lost at home to Oakland in Game 5 of the AL championship series.
While 22-year-old Rick Porcello didn't pitch poorly for the Tigers in Game 4, he wasn't at the top of his game.
''I might not have had my best stuff, but in the playoffs, you have to go with what you have,'' Porcello said. ''The one big mistake I made was that I left a slider up to Jeter. That was a bad pitch. Other than that, I thought I kept them at bay.''
He gave up four runs, five hits and an intentional walk over six innings, and New York broke open the game with a six-run eighth.
''I thought Porcello really threw the ball well,'' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ''He made a bad pitch to Derek on the double.''
Detroit wasted chances to score against A.J. Burnett before he got in a groove, and the Tigers wound up hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position and had just four hits in the game.
''A lot of these games come down to hitting with runners in scoring position,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''That's the bottom line.''
After Austin Jackson walked to lead off the first, Ramon Santiago popped up a bunt to third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Miguel Cabrera was walked intentionally with two outs, and Victor Martinez walked to load the bases, but Don Kelly's fly to center was tracked down by former Tiger fan favorite Curtis Granderson.
''We had something going in the first, but Grandy made a great play,'' Porcello said.
Burnett didn't give up a hit in the second or third innings, then Victor Martinez fired up 43,527 fans at Comerica Park with a solo homer to right in the fourth inning to pull Detroit to 2-1.
Just when it seemed Detroit was building momentum with Jhonny Peralta's one-out double, Burnett silenced Detroit's bats and its fans by striking out slumping Alex Avila and Wilson Betemit.
Jackson, trying to show to show Detroit got something out of the three-team trade that sent Granderson to New York in 2009, led off the fifth with a single only to have Santiago spoil another scoring opportunity by grounding into a double play.
The Tigers' last shot to stay in the game before New York put it out of reach came in the sixth. Kelly had a two-out single, and Peralta hit a drive to left-center that looked like it was going to pull them within two runs only to have Granderson make the crowd groan by sprinting across the outfield to make a fully extended diving catch.
By the time the game was over, the stands were mostly empty on what the Motor City was hoping would be its night to roll into the AL championship series, just as Detroit did in a similar situation against New York in 2006.
''It's going to be tough for us to go in there and beat them,'' said Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, the AL batting champion. ''But it is going to be tough for them to knock us out.''