Hiroki Kuroda is dealing again in the second, striking out his second Tiger MVP candidate in as many batters in Prince Fielder. The brings up the Tigers' all-time leader in postseason homers, Delmon Young. Sadly, you read that correctly--Young passed Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg with his sixth last night. There's something very depressing about that. Kuroda thinks very little of this, and strikes him out! That's four Ks in five batters already. Right fielder Andy Dirks gets ahead of Kuroda 3-1, but he too eventually goes down on strikes, taking a perfect strike three. Make that five Ks in six batters already. Show no mercy, #HIROK.
Sanchez gets to face the Trio of Slumber in the second: Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher. A-Rod works the count full to lead off the inning. He may have struck out a lot, but he's still much better at making pitchers waste bullets than the similarly slumping Grandy, Robbie, and even Swish. Unfortunately, he goes down on a called strike three anyway. It was Sanchez's first changeup of the at bat. Oh, Ardo. Grandy immediately falls behind 0-2 on two foul balls. It was unfortunate that his ALDS Game 5 outburst didn't carry over into the first game of the ALCS. Maybe it will reemerge today. Never mind, Grandy whiffed. Whatever. At least the fans have realized that A-Rod isn't the only one deserving of boos. I don't advocate booing, but at least be consistent if you're going to do it.
Swish comes up next, takes a ball outside and lines a ball hard toward second. Infante dives to knock it down, but he can't get a throw off, and Swish gets a much-needed single. Nothing comes of it though, as Quintin Berry runs down Jayson Nix's long fly ball to left to end the inning.
Kuroda falls behind Jhonny Peralta 3-1 to start the third, but gets him to ground out on a good sinker. He again falls behind 3-1, this time on catcher Alex Avila, but after a foul ball, Kuroda gets Avila to swing through a sinker for his sixth strikeout in eight batters. Now, he faces 2010 National League All-Star Omar Infante, who takes a slider in the zone, then chases two outside for Kuroda's seventh strikeout in nine batters. Wow, does he look good today. The Yankees are going to need it. Score some runs for this man! Top of the order is coming up in the bottom of the third.
Ichiro tries a drag bunt up the first base line to spark the offense. It's not hit very hard though, and Avila runs it down, throwing Ichiro out in time. It's a nice effort though. Now we see Cano, mired in an all-time Yankee postseason-worst 0-for-23. He would take a hit like Swisher had last inning. He takes two strikes in the zone though to fall behind 0-2. Two pitches later, Cano falls to 0-for-23 on a grounder to shortstop. It's really unbelievable how dramatically Cano has fallen from his scorching final week of the season. Tex ends the inning on an easy grounder to the deceptively-named Fielder at first. Inning over.