The plan went completely according to plan for the Yankees. And then they moved on to the second inning.
New York dropped a pivotal Game 3 to the Tigers, 5-4, and now stand one loss from elimination with the mercurial A.J. Burnett as the Game 4 starter.
The Yankees pounced on Justin Verlander in the first inning with a lead-off single from Derek Jeter and a triple from Curtis Granderson to take a 1-0 lead. Alex Rodriguez put the Yankees up 2-0 on an RBI groundout.
After that, Verlander, who won the AL?Triple Crown in pitching, settled in and dominated the Yankee lineup until the seventh inning. Verlander walked Jorge Posada, hit Russell Martin with a 100-mph fastball and surrendered a double to Brett Gardner that tied the game.
Verlander didn’t have much time for regret though.
Rafael Soriano, who relieved CC Sabathia in the sixth, gave up a solo home run to Delmon Young in the bottom of the seventh that would prove to be the game-winner. Jose Valverde closed it out in the ninth for Detroit.
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Pressure rests on Burnett
The player Yankee fans would least like to see on the mound in a deciding game is A.J. Burnett.
Would closing your eyes work?
Down 2-1 in the series and on the road, it will be just that man taking the mound in a do-or-die scenario.
Burnett was due to pitch out of the bullpen this series, but thanks to the Game 1 rain delay Burnett was moved to the rotation.
Follow New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.