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Reds, Tigers Win MLB Playoff Series Openers, Yankees Play Today

The Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers won the opening games of their Major League Baseball playoff series. The New York Yankees begin their best-of-five series today against the Baltimore Orioles.

Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce hit home runs to give the visiting Reds a 5-1 victory against the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of a National League Division Series.

“I was just trying to make things happen for the team,” Phillips said in a televised interview.

Justin Verlander allowed one run and struck out 11 batters in seven innings as the Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-1 to take a one-game lead in their American League Division Series.

In addition to the Yankees-Orioles series, the Washington Nationals open their best-of-five series today against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL.

The Yankees are 7-2 favorites to win the World Series, with the Tigers given second-best odds of 5-1, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book. The Giants, Cardinals, Reds and Nationals all have 6-1 odds, with the Athletics at 8-1 and the Orioles at 14-1.

Phillips, who had three hits, had a two-run homer in the third inning and a run-scoring single as the Reds scored two runs in the ninth. Bruce led off the fourth with his homer.

Buster Posey led off the sixth inning with a home run for the Giants, who added a run in the ninth on a wild pitch. Game 2 of the Major League Baseball series is set for tonight in San Francisco.

Cincinnati starting pitcher Johnny Cueto got just one batter out before leaving the game with back spasms. Cueto, 26, led the Reds with 19 victories this season.

Cain Loses

Sam LeCure, the second of six Cincinnati pitchers, got five outs for the win. Giants starter Matt Cain took the loss, allowing three runs in five innings.

Reds manager Dusty Baker, who led the Giants from 1993-2002, got a 30-second standing ovation from San Francisco fans when he was introduced before the game. Baker, 63, missed 11 games in late August because of an irregular heartbeat and a mild stroke.

In Detroit, Verlander allowed three hits, including a home run by Coco Crisp leading off the game for the Athletics last night.

“Obviously, that takes the wind out of your sails,” Verlander said in a televised interview. “It’s like a heavyweight bout when you get popped in the face in the first round and it kind of wakes you up.”

Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth for Detroit and Jose Valverde got a save while striking out two in the ninth.

“I was out of sync early,” Verlander said. “Then I found my rhythm, my mechanics.”

The A’s began the season 29th in the major leagues with a $55 million payroll, compared to fifth-highest Detroit at $132 million, according to USA Today’s annual survey. The Oakland roster was assembled by General Manager Billy Beane, whose philosophy of evaluating players was the topic of the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis.

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