Redskins

Sanchez, Tigers beat Yanks for 2-0 lead in ALCS

201210141527556618105-p2.jpeg

Sanchez, Tigers beat Yanks for 2-0 lead in ALCS

NEW YORK (AP) Anibal Sanchez gave a performance against New York that the Detroit Tigers have come to expect from Justin Verlander.

The Tigers' ace is next in line for a chance to toy with the Yankees' suddenly dreadful offense.

Sanchez shut down a Yankees lineup minus the injured Derek Jeter, Detroit scored twice after a missed call by an ump and won without any extra-inning drama, beating New York 3-0 Sunday for a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League championship series.

``Sanchez showed what we know about our starters, that they're really good,'' Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry said. ``A lot of people outside our clubhouse stop at Verlander when they talk about our starting pitching, but we just hope they all keep doing what they're doing.''

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Detroit, with Verlander, the reigning AL MVP, starting for the Tigers against Phil Hughes. Verlander went 2-0 in the division series versus Oakland, including a four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in the decisive Game 5.

Hitting .192 in the ALCS after putting up a paltry .216 average against Baltimore in the division series, the Yankees have a real challenge ahead.

``Obviously, he's a great pitcher,'' designated hitter Raul Ibanez said of Verlander. ``We have to go out there and battle and compete and play the best that we can and do what we're capable of doing.''

New York did little against Sanchez. He struck out seven and was never in any real trouble.

In the first inning when the Yankees put runners on first and second, he took care of it by reaching around his back to snare a grounder for the final out.

``He was terrific,'' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ``This is a tough place to pitch with a tough lineup and a short porch. And a whole bunch of left-handed hitters, it is not easy. That was quite a feat.''

New York starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched perfect ball into the sixth inning to keep pace with Sanchez. But Robinson Cano and the slumping Yankees hitters were no match for the 28-year-old right-hander a day after their captain broke his ankle in the 12th inning of a 6-4 loss.

``I try to think backwards,'' Sanchez said. ``If the count calls for a fastball, I throw a different pitch. If the count calls for a different pitch, I throw a fastball. I try to mix my speeds.''

Making his second postseason start, Sanchez threw three-hit ball deep into the game to make Leyland's job easier. Closer Jose Valverde gave up four runs in the ninth Saturday and, only hours later, Leyland said the righty wouldn't close Game 2.

Delmon Young gave Sanchez his first run of support in the playoffs with a fielder's choice in the seventh. The Tigers then scored twice in the eighth after second base umpire Jeff Nelson missed a call on a two-out tag. Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued, and was ejected on his 48th birthday.

``The hand did not get in before the tag,'' Nelson said after seeing a replay. ``The call was incorrect.''

The Tigers led 1-0 in the eighth and had Omar Infante on first with two outs. Austin Jackson singled and when Infante took a wide turn at second, right fielder Nick Swisher threw behind him.

Cano made a swipe tag as Infante dove head-first back to second. Cano missed Infante's arm but caught his body, replays clearly showed. But Nelson called Infante safe.

``I think the umpire got confused `cause he saw my hand, something with my hand made him think I was safe,'' Infante said.

Was he out?

``Of course,'' Infante said.

Cano and Girardi argued the call to no avail. Boone Logan replaced Kuroda and gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Avisail Garcia to make it 2-0.

``It's frustrating. I don't have a problem with Jeff's effort, I don't, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change,'' Girardi said.

``These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. It is a tough call for him because the tag is underneath and it's hard for him to see. And it takes more time to argue and get upset than you get the call right. Too much is at stake,'' he said.

Girardi returned to lift Logan for Joba Chamberlain, and then he remained on the field to resume the argument. Red-faced with neck muscles bulging, Girardi could be seen shouting at Nelson, ``You were right there. How could you miss it?'' He was tossed by Nelson for his first postseason ejection.

Miguel Cabrera added a run-scoring single after the ejection.

Cano had no luck at the plate, either. The All-Star's slump extended to a record 26 hitless at-bats in a single postseason, breaking the mark of 24 set by Baltimore's Bobby Bonilla in 1996, STATS LLC said.

``I feel good at the plate,'' Cano said. ``So, all I can do is stay positive and play good Tuesday.''

There were many empty seats near the foul poles, and a subdued crowd spent much of the day venting its frustration, booing the punchless Yankees. The 47,082 in attendance reserved its biggest cheers early for Jeter, who broke his ankle in the last inning of the Game 1 loss.

``I don't know what's going on here, it seems like something is going on here,'' Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel said. ``I mean, I don't want to wake them, I don't want them to get loud. I don't know what's going on but I like it.''

The ``Bleacher Creatures'' included the captain in their roll call and fans let out a modest cheer pregame when Jeter was shown in video thanking fans on the scoreboard.

While the Yankees are headed to Detroit for what they hope will be three games, their captain will fly to Charlotte, N.C., to visit a foot specialist.

Jhonny Peralta singled in the sixth for the Tigers' first baserunner against Kuroda, who was pitching on short rest for the first time in his big league career. Delmon Young then gave Detroit the lead with a forceout grounder in the seventh, a night after putting the Tigers ahead in the 12th inning with a double.

Sanchez has had quite the success in the Bronx. He made his big league debut at the old Yankee Stadium when it was across the street, and pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings for Marlins in 2006. The only player to notch two hits against him in that game was Jeter.

Pitching for the first time in this 4-year-old ballpark - and in front of his parents - Sanchez limited the Yankees to just three hits and three walks, one an intentional pass to Ibanez.

When Ichiro Suzuki reached on Sanchez's fielding error to open the sixth and advanced to third with two outs, Peralta was there to bail out his pitcher with another nifty play, bare-handing a slow grounder for the third out.

Leyland took Valverde out of consideration for the closer role on Sunday. Valverde gave up a pair of two-run homers in the ninth inning Saturday night and also blew a save in the division series.

Former Yankees reliever Phil Coke pitched two innings for the save.

``Jose Valverde will be an important part of this club in this playoff or we are going to have a real tough time,'' Leyland said. ``I just hope that the people back home are, like I said, not too short-minded because this guy has been fantastic, and is an important piece in the scenario, in my opinion.''

Kuroda did all he could to help keep it close for the Yankees' anemic offense.

Curtis Granderson went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk and Alex Rodriguez singled in the ninth for his third hit of the postseason and finished 1 for 4. A-Rod is 0 for 18 with 12 Ks against right-handed pitchers in these playoffs. When he lined out to left field in the seventh fans gave a mock cheer.

``We've been through stretches like this all year,'' Rodriguez said. ``It's been a very volatile stock market for us this year.''

NOTES: Cabrera reached base in all 18 playoff games with Detroit, matching Hank Greenberg for the longest streak in team history.

Quick Links

Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Here is what you need to know on Tuesday, August 21, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

Looking at a few different topics this morning:

—What was going to be a normal, ho-hum Tuesday preseason practice at Redskins Park will now be on hyperdrive thanks to the addition of Adrian Peterson. After mostly ignoring the Redskins for most of the offseason the national media will turn out in force to chronicle the arrival of AD. Yes, it’s AD as in All Day as I was reminded by several Sooners on Twitter in the past few days. I suppose that now that he’s here I’d better get it right. 

Derrius Guice underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL yesterday (see his tweet below). I haven’t heard but I assume that someone will say that the surgery was a success. Looking at a recovery time of about nine months, Guice could be ready for the start of OTAs in mid-May. But given how cautious this organization tends to be with injuries during the offseason program, we may not see him on the field until training camp. 

—Speaking of injuries, there were over a dozen players who were not participating in practice on both Saturday and Sunday. As I noted here a couple of days ago Jay Gruden has become very tight-lipped when it comes to giving out information on injuries. And teams are not required to give out any injury information at all during the preseason. So it’s hard to sort out veterans’ days from players with minor injuries that are being rested because the game isn’t until Friday from injuries that are reasons for legitimate concern. The first injury report will come out two weeks from tomorrow, so we are mostly in the dark until then. 

—I’m hearing from fans and some in the media that undrafted free agent Cam Sims is a lock to make the 53-man roster. I would suggest pumping the brakes. He has a great opportunity and I have him on the 53 in my last prediction. But he has been erratic. The Jets preseason game, where he made a big-time error when he had a pass bounce out of his arms, turning a completion into an interception then made some key, acrobatic catches was essentially a microcosm of his training camp. He needs a strong finish both in practice and in the two remaining preseason games to get locked into a spot. A few plays like the botched reception and he could be on the outside looking in. 

—Montae Nicholson quietly had a good camp and he has played well in two preseason games (he was one of the few starters to play against the Patriots). He struggled in coverage in the early part of camp. The Redskins are changing their scheme to play left- and right-side safeties instead of free and strong. That means that Nicholson, who played free last year, had to learn the coverage responsibilities for both positions on both sides of the field. It took him some time to get up to speed and during that time it was not unusual to see Nicholson trailing behind a receiver who had a couple of steps on him. He is not immune to making mistakes or just getting beaten on occasion (news flash: NFL rules are set up for DBs to get burned). But he should get the job done most of the time and be the player the Redskins hope he will be. 

Bureau of statistics

Nicholson’s 40 time at the NFL Combine in 2017 was 4.42, the third fastest among safeties and tenth fastest Amon all defensive backs. 

Trending on social

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 3 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 11 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 19 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler


 

Quick Links

Baltimore Ravens crash Andrew Luck's homecoming with 20-19 preseason win

usa_today_11056518.0.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Baltimore Ravens crash Andrew Luck's homecoming with 20-19 preseason win

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Baltimore Ravens spoiled Andrew Luck's Indianapolis homecoming.

They picked him off before allowing a completion, and Terrell Suggs nearly chopped the ball out of Luck's hands on a sack. The Ravens then secured a 20-19 preseason win over the Colts by stopping a late 2-point conversion run.

Luck was just OK in his first home start since Jan. 1, 2017. But he did receive a roaring ovation from the crowd when he took the field, led the Colts to one score and apparently emerged unscathed after going down twice on sacks.

"Not too sharp, certainly red-zone turnovers are a negative, missed a couple of throws I'd like to hit," he said. "And I didn't feel like we, as an offense, got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm."

Expectations were high following a solid start in Seattle.

This time, the Colts (1-1) looked sloppy.

Luck missed his first three throws, the third winding up in the hands of Ravens safety Anthony Levine Jr. Luck rebounded to finish 6 of 13 for 50 yards and set up 45-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 57-yard field before leaving in the second quarter.

If Luck had his way, he might have played longer. But first-year coach Frank Reich wasn't taking any chances with Luck's surgically repaired arm.

"We just never found a rhythm for him and some of his balls were not his best balls," he said. "But I still have a lot of confidence we're headed in the right direction."

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked better.

Flacco went 7 of 9 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jackson then showed flashes of what helped him win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Jackson was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and a TD and carried four times for 26 yards before giving way to another Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in the fourth quarter.

Indy still had a chance at the end after Tarell Basham recovered a fumble at the Ravens 9. Five plays later, Phillip Walker threw a 9-yard TD pass to Zach Pascal with 2:24 left. But the Ravens (3-0) stopped Walker on the 2-point try, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"Happy to get the win," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of things that weren't winning football, especially in the second half."

The Ravens made it tough on Indy all night.

They stopped Indy twice in the red zone and nearly had a third when Jordan Wilkins fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it bounced right into the hands of receiver Chester Rogers.

Flacco gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when he hooked up with John Brown on a 7-yard score, and Jackson's masterful hurry-up drive at the end of the first half ended with Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

When Colts rookie Nyheim Hines fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackson hooked up with Chris Moore on a 7-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.