The Detroit Tigers are headed to the World Series after beating the New York Yankees 8-1 for a four-game sweep in the American League Championship Series.
Jhonny Peralta hit two home runs and Miguel Cabrera had one for the Tigers, who advance to Major League Baseball’s title round for the first time since they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in 2006. The Cardinals hold a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series, with Game 4 tonight in St. Louis.
“This is what we worked for all year, to get to this point,” Cabrera said in a televised interview. “Four more wins -- we’ll play hard and bring that ring to Detroit.”
The Yankees were held to two hits and got swept in a playoff series for the first time since the 1980 ALCS, when they lost three straight games to the Kansas City Royals. The last time New York failed to win a game in a best-of-seven postseason series was in the 1976 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
It’s the fifth time the Yankees have been swept in a playoff series.
Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia took the defeat, his first in his past eight postseason starts, after allowing six runs -- five of them earned -- in 3 2/3 innings. Sabathia surrendered 11 hits, including two-run homers to Cabrera and Peralta in the bottom of the fourth.
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the top of the sixth inning before Eduardo Nunez led off with a triple and scored on a double by Nick Swisher. Scherzer finished with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
After scoring seven runs in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees had four runs or fewer in each of their past eight playoff games, the longest such stretch in a single postseason in franchise history.
New York finishes with a team batting average of .188 in the playoffs. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Swisher and Russell Martin hit a combined .122, collecting 19 hits in 156 at-bats.
“There’s a lot of good hitters in that room and to shut them down really surprises me,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in a news conference. “Collectively we weren’t able to get it done.”
Detroit never trailed in the ALCS in ending the Yankees’ season for the second straight year.
The only other postseason series in which the Yankees never held a lead was the 1963 World Series, when they were swept in four games by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sabathia gave up three singles in the first inning as the Tigers took a 1-0 lead. Delmon Young delivered a two-out hit to score Omar Infante, who had reached base on an infield single that third baseman Eric Chavez misplayed. Chavez got a second straight start in place of Rodriguez, baseball’s highest-paid player.
Detroit added another run in the bottom of the third inning after a pair of defensive miscues by Mark Teixeira at first base. After a two-out error by Teixeira loaded the bases, rookie Avisail Garcia’s infield single scored Prince Fielder.
The Tigers broke the game open in the fourth, when Cabrera hit his first home run of the postseason. Detroit’s third baseman during the regular season led the AL in homers, batting average and runs batted in, becoming the league’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years.
The Yankees’ lone run came when Swisher snapped his 1-for-35 postseason slump with runners in scoring position. After Scherzer was taken out with runners on first and third, Rodriguez entered the game and flew out to end the inning.
Granderson struck out as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh inning, dropping him to 3-for-30 in the playoffs with 16 strikeouts. In the bottom of the inning, Austin Jackson, the outfielder the Yankees sent to the Tigers in the trade for Granderson, hit a solo homer for a 7-1 Detroit lead.
Peralta added his second homer of the game in the eighth inning, a line drive over the left field wall off Yankees reliever David Robertson. New York went hitless over the final three innings, with ex-Yankee pitcher Phil Coke getting the final six outs to seal the win.
The Yankees had just two four-game losing streaks during the 162-game regular season and were the last MLB team to lose four games in a row in 2012.
This marks the fourth time the Yankees have lost in 15 ALCS appearances.
The Tigers will be seeking their fifth World Series title and first since 1984. The World Series is scheduled to begin Oct. 24, with the first two games at the NL team’s ballpark.