Sanchez came up empty in his first postseason start back on Oct. 9 against Oakland, but was fully brilliant on Sunday with seven innings of shutout ball against a potent Yankees lineup. The 28-year-old hurler gave up only three hits and walked three others on a day when he had full command of the strike zone.
Not to be outdone by his counterpart, New York starter Hiroki Kuroda was also a dominant force on the mound with 11 strikeouts over seven and 2/3 innings. Though he matched Sanchez for the first six frames, Kuroda was slowed by a Delmon Young fielder's choice that scored Quintin Berry in the seventh, and then roughed up further by a pair of RBI singles from Avisail Garcia and Miguel Cabrera in the eighth.
After a slow start offensively, Detroit produced seven hits as a team after the sixth inning alone and once again made New York's fatigued bullpen work for every last out. With closer Jose Valverde benched by manager Jim Leyland after his woeful performance in Game 1, the Tigers turned to left-handed specialist Phil Coke for the final two innings to seal the win.
Eager to build on their significant lead in the series, the Tigers will return home on Tuesday for three straight games at Comerica Park. Righty Justin Verlander will take the ball in Game 3, while the Yankees plan to counter with youngster Phil Hughes.
Looking to take a two-game lead in the series, the Detroit Tigers remain deadlocked with the New York Yankees, 0-0, after six innings of play in Sunday's Game 2 of the ALCS.
Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has been electric through six innings with only one hit yielded to Detroit batters. The veteran right-hander has already fanned eight batters in the outing, and remains on track to pitch much further with only 71 pitches to his credit.
Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez has largely been able to match Kuroda inning-for-inning however, and has only given up three New York hits over six frames. Sanchez has been forced to a higher number of pitches than his counterpart, but also stands a great chance to pitch deep into the game with 86 total pitches thus far.
Along with making a key defensive play in the bottom of the sixth to save a possible New York run, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is the only Detroit player to record a hit against Kuroda. Peralta is now hitting an insane .571 in the postseason and remains one of the biggest x-factors for the Tigers going forward.
Looking to bring a 2-0 series lead back to the Motor City, the Detroit Tigers offense has been shut down through three innings of Game 2 by New York Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda. Neither team has managed to score yet, but Detroit is still looking for its first baserunner as Kuroda does his thing.
Kuroda, quietly one of the better pitchers in baseball over the past few years, has certainly looked the part so far on Sunday. Through three innings, Kuroda hasn't allowed a single hit or walk, and seven of the nine outs he's recorded have been by the strikeout.
Luckily, the Tigers have gotten a strong performance from their own starting pitcher, right-hander Anibal Sanchez. Acquired from Miami during the season, Sanchez has done enough to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard even though they've gotten mustered two hits and a walk already.