Never a doubt, right?
With the Tigers leading 5-1 in the ninth inning, Jim Leyland turned to already-warm-before-the-insurance-run Jose Valverde for the dreaded non-save situation. As he normally does in such situations, Valverde made Tigers fans weak in their knees and stomachs by allowing the Yankees to score not once but twice and bring the game-winning run to the plate.
Luckily, with the rain pouring down, Valverde got Robinson Cano to hit a soft grounder to Ramon Santiago, who threw to Miguel Cabrera for the final out as millions of Tigers fans collectively exhaled. A win is a win and the Tigers tied the series 1-1 heading back to Detroit for two, just like it went down in 2006.
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Miguel Cabrera took his Venezuelan buddy Freddy Garcia out to the short porch in right. That was all the Tigers would need for Max Scherzer, who boasted a no-hitter through five innings.
Scherzer's no-hit bid was broken up in the sixth inning with one out on a bloop single to left field that anyone not named Delmon Young or Ryan Raburn probably would have caught. In all, Scherzer went six scoreless, allowing just two hits while striking out five.
Scherzer needed to be bailed out in the seventh inning by Joaquin Benoit, though. Benoit got the three hitters he faced after Scherzer put the only two hitters he faced on base to start the inning. Benoit recorded the final two outs via strikeouts.
For some reason, Leyland decided to play with the fire of his lighter by letting Benoit face two lefties to start the eighth inning. Granderson, renowned for not being able to hit lefties, took the right-handed Benoit deep to start the inning and wasted the Tigers shutout. Benoit got the next three hitters, but eyebrows were raised when Benoit, not Coke, trotted back out to the mound.
The Tigers got the Granderson run back in the ninth on a Don Kelly RBI single, but it also undoubtedly changed how the bottom half of the inning would play out with Valverde.
Valverde almost got out of the ninth inning without having to face the fear of giving up a walk-off homer to Cano when he got Granderson to pop one in foul territory. The ball was between home and third, near the steps of the dugout, and Avila looked like he was going to be able to camp under it. However, he slipped on the on-deck circle and the ball bounced between him and Brandon Inge. Seeing where the ball dropped, Inge probably should've been calling Avila off the entire time. Instead of the game being over, Granderson had new life and ultimately walked, leading to the Cano at-bat and added nervousness.
Miguel Cabrera had three hits and three runs batted in. Victor Martinez and Kelly were responsible for the other Tigers runs batted in.
The Tigers head home now to Detroit -- where the sun is always shining -- for Games 3 and 4. Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia will square off again on Monday for Game 3. Rick Porcello goes in Game 4 opposite likely A.J. Burnett.
Kenny Rogers will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Tigers on Monday night.