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Big League Stew

ALCS Game 4: Tigers sweep Yankees, head to World Series after 8-1 win

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Score and situation:  No broom curses here. The Detroit Tigers did not delay the inevitable, putting away the punchless New York Yankees with an 8-1 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Thursday. The win sends the Tigers to their first World Series since 2006 — which they also entered via sweep — while mercifully sending the Yankees home for the winter. It's the first time the Yankees have been swept in the postseason since Kansas City beat them in the 1980 ALCS.

Leading lads: Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta each hit two-run homers off CC Sabathia in the bottom of the fourth inning to break the game open and make Detroit's coronation as American League champs an extended one. Peralta would later add a solo shot in the eighth inning to cap off the scoring in a series that saw the Tigers outscore the Yankees 19-6 over the four contests. Delmon Young went 2 for 4 with a RBI and was named ALCS MVP.

[Related: Phil Coke celebrates AL pennant by spiking glove]

On the mound, Max Scherzer continued the unbelievable run of Detroit starters this October, losing a no-hitter on the first batter of the sixth inning and pitching 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball while striking out 10. In 61 2/3 innings of postseason work, Tigers starting pitchers have a 1.02 ERA and 66 strikeouts. They allowed only two runs to the Yankees all series. (Take away Jose Valverde's implosion in Game 1 and that's all they would have scored.)

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(Getty Images)

Head hangers: CC Sabathia may have saved the Yankees against the Orioles in the ALDS, but he wasn't worth the wait in this series. The big lefty lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs, two homers and 11 hits. New York's entire lineup was also blameworthy with Robinson Cano posting an 0 for 4 to cap a 3 for 40 postseason that has seen him collect as many hits as St. Louis pitcher Chris Carpenter.

Key play: Peralta's two-run homer in the fourth inning came after Cabrera did the same and erased any doubt that Game 4 ticket holders would get a chance to party.

Interesting stat: According to whowins.com, this is only the fifth best-of-seven postseason series in which one of the teams never held a lead. The Yankees join the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals (WS Boston), 1989 San Francisco Giants (WS, Oakland), 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers (WS, Baltimore) and 1963 Yankees (WS, Los Angeles) to never enjoy an advantage.

[Also: Mystery A-Rod woman identified]

What they'll be talking about: The national media is obviously going to focus on the fall of the Yankees and what offseason changes may or may not be coming. It'd be a shame, though, to not credit the Tigers rotation for how they've been pitching this month. It was their efforts that stopped Oakland, halted New York's well-paid sluggers and are sending the franchise to its 11th World Series appearance. There will be plenty of question about how the Tigers will handle closer Jose Valverde in the next matchup, but the reliability of the starters make his volatility a little easier to stomach.

What's next: The Detroit Tigers will head home to watch the NLCS and find out whether or not they'll be reporting to St. Louis or San Francisco for Game 1 of the World Series next Wednesday. The Yankees, meanwhile, will return back to the Big Apple for plenty of discussion (and suggestions) of how they can fix things going forward.

Make sure all your bases are covered this postseason ...
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