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Jose Valverde earns 51st straight save of 2011, Tigers top Yankees and advance to ALCS

Oct 7, 2011, 12:53 AM EDT

valverde ap AP

Tigers closer Jose Valverde converted 49-of-49 save opportunities during the 2011 regular season.

At times those saves were pretty, others times they weren’t. On Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, the American League Central champions just wanted results. And Valverde once again came through.

The seemingly possessed right-hander induced a weak flyout to left field from Curtis Granderson, shattered Robinson Cano‘s bat on a soft lineout to center, then got Alex Rodriguez with an emphatic punchout to end the ninth inning and wrap up the ALDS. He needed only 11 pitches to make it through the perfect frame, seven of which went for strikes. It was his 51st successfully converted save of the 2011 season.

But Valverde wasn’t the Tigers’ only standout pitcher in Thursday’s 3-2 Game 5 triumph.

Doug Fister started things off with five innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits while striking out four Yankees hitters. Game 2 victor Max Scherzer then came on in relief, earning a hard-fought hold. Joaquin Benoit followed with a scoreless 1 2/3 frames before manager Jim Leyland turned things over to Valverde.

It’s not all about Justin Verlander. Detroit’s pitching staff is deep and — more importantly — producing.

The Tigers will open their ALCS matchup with the Rangers on Saturday. We’ll have it covered here at HBT.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    I don’t see any reason to get complicated about this. In a few days, we’ll all be snoring through Detroit versus Texas, and if the Feelies lose to the Cardinals, most of us will have gone fishing right along with most of the big-market team ballplayers. So let’s keep it simple, get our discussion over with, and begin looking forward to the winter meetings, the hot stove leagues and this orfseason’s titillating trades. Okay, here goes: It’s all A-Roid’s fault. A-Roid is useless in the clutch. A-Roid is useless in general. Pile on A-Roid! Buckbuck!

    • tashkalucy - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:18 AM

      Yes, how can an American baseball fan [sic] possibly stay awake watching the Rangers vs. Tigers?

      THERE OUTTA BE A LAW!!!!!!!!!!

      The team that wins shouldn’t move on! The sexy teams that the national MLB media tell you are so good and write about should move up. And the ups need to give them the call like the NBA refs do the stars!

      (Have you ever seen more disgusted professional players then whn an ump makes a call against a player from the Red Sox or Yankees…..talk about an entitlement mentality…..)

      Oh my, it’s amazing what MLB has allowed to happen to what was once the American Pastime.

      Onto the post-season where the Red Sox and Yankees throw their unequal cable money at Albert Puhols and Prince Fielder and still don’t win……..

      • raysfan1 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:23 AM

        Dude, Gator was kidding.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:28 AM

        …or to be more specific, he was snarking about large markets and ratings obsession and the tendancy of many fans in NY to find scape goats (especially Rodriguez) rather than crediting the victor. He’s a Marlins fan, and a fan of baseball in general. Cool your jets.

      • firedude7160 - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:07 AM

        Take a chill pill man. Gator is a Feesh fan (Marlins fan), so you don’t need to lecture him about small market teams (sorry Feesh fans, just making a point). I’m fairly certain that, as Raysfan1 pointed out, Gator’s post was typed using his sarcasm keyboard

      • firedude7160 - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:17 AM

        Sorry Raysfan1. For some reason your second comment wasn’t there when I wrote up my comment, but magically appeared after my comment posted. Didn’t mean to restate what you had already said

    • draspanish2 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      You may be snoring because you are a poor loser. The Detroit Tigers earned their way to the next series and the Yankees could not convert. It amazes me that if the Yankees had won they would have been part of the Today Show news, because they did not they could not find the decency to congratulate the Detroit Tigers. That is pretty SAD. By the way, the “sexiness” of the ball players is not the basis for the game.

    • alan3008 - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      I think it is refreshing every time the Yankees are eliminated and new teams make the later rounds of the playoffs. EVERY year the Yankees are way over the payroll cap as they try to BUY THE WORLD SERIES. It is great fun to watch them lose. Have fun fishing, loser. The rest of the country will enjoy watching better teams play.

  2. tashkalucy - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    What?!?!?!?

    A make-up article that gives credit to the team that WON?!?!?!??!

    Fortunately we have the comment section where guys like oldgater can talk about what went wrong woth the awesome Yankees.

    Just like the Rays didn’t win….the Red Sox messed up.

    The national MLB media needs to take a lesson in baseball 101 and understand what happens on the field. Sexy signings and taking on payroll in salary dump trades makes for fun off-season talk, but it doesn’t win championships.

    • cur68 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:43 AM

      Tash, get over it, please. Most on here will love it that the Tigers move on. Valverde is a character, the team is clutch, scrappy and top heavy with grit and Leyland is eccentric and fun to pay attention to, just like the team. Right now the big story IS the defeat of the AL East champs. Can you really blame a media outlet for posting stories for that?

      S’cool, kay? Soon enough the Tigers take on the Rangers. Then you’ll see nothing but that stuff…unless of course Girardi gets fired or ARod starts dating Chloris Leachman, but hey, that’d be big news, amirite?

      • alan3008 - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        “ARod starts dating Chloris Leachman”
        ______________

        Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

  3. raysfan1 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    Congrats to Los Tigres. Here’s hoping for a “1968 rematch.”

    • tashkalucy - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:36 AM

      Here in America they’re called “The Tigers”.

      • cur68 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:44 AM

        And here in Canada they’re called “Is that Hockey Team?”. What’s your point?

      • raysfan1 - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:54 AM

        Here in America most of us aren’t so picky about other folks having a little fun with team names. BTW, I generally pull for the Tigers (when they aren’t playing the Rays), because I grew up a Reds fan and thus followed the Tigers after Sparky became their manager.
        .
        Allez, Tigres! (You like French better?)

      • cur68 - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:20 AM

        Why yes, yes i do…

      • indaburg - Oct 7, 2011 at 6:59 AM

        Here in the U.S., tashkalucy is commonly called a “troll.”

        I suppose Los Padres need to look into changing their name…

      • lukeslice - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        If this were France, everyone would lose and we’d ALL be bitter…no thanks. AMERICA!

    • kalinedrive - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      Wouldn’t a “1968 rematch” be called a “2006 rematch” now?

  4. hoopmatch - Oct 7, 2011 at 3:37 AM

    I’m hoping for a Tigers/Dbacks matchup in the World Series on account of Tigers legends Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell now running the Dbacks.

  5. 8man - Oct 7, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    Eat it, Wankees fan!

    I’ll bet there are few snickers in Boston this morning.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      Oh, indeed.

      Yankeesfreude is a beautiful thing for us bitter Red Sox fans.

      Philliesfreude later tonight would feel almost as good too, though I have my doubts that’s gonna happen.

    • lukeslice - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      get your head out of the scrum, clown…boston still lost this season a helluva lot worse than the yanks did

  6. Detroit Michael - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    I’m surprised that Leyland brought Benoit back out to begin the 8th inning. He was the only Tigers pitcher last night that didn’t pitch well.

  7. butlers91 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    A good series! Ultimately, the Yanks has the bases loaded twice and couldn’t get a hit, which doomed them. A hit on either of those, and we have a different winner. But two evenly matched teams, if this was a 21 game series, we might have been headed to a 10-10 tie. But….we WIN!! Go Tigers!!

    • butlers91 - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      …and I was glad we did it without Verlander last night, now he will be fresh for Texas.

  8. texasdawg - Oct 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    The 51 straight is especially amazing given that Valverde hasn’t been very good.

    4.01 xFIP, 4.23 BB/9. Yuck.

  9. polegojim - Oct 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Simple – Tigers ‘out-toughed’ the Yankees. Their pitching shut down more than just A-Rod with players in scoring position. Rather than star-studded and glam, this Tigers team is a working mans group.

    Gritting and plenty of fight.

    Great Job Tigers! Now, on to a tough Ranger series.

  10. spytdi - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Rangers fan here, as a kid I loved to watch Lou Whitaker, Trammel and the great Mickey Tettleton. Glad to see the Tigers moved on; although hey gave us fits all year.

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