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10/05/06 4:30 PM ET

Tigers Short Hops: Game 2

Near-flawless bullpen work helps Granderson's triple hold up

NEW YORK -- Fielding the Tigers' Game 2 victory over the Yankees on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Justin Verlander turned in a solid outing, the bullpen was simply spectacular and the lineup was opportunistic, as the Tigers got back in this thing.

Frozen moment
Curtis Granderson talked after Monday's game about the Tigers' need to capitalize on more scoring opportunities. Then he went out and did it in a clutch situation in the seventh. With Marcus Thames at third after a single, a passed ball and Brandon Inge's perfect sacrifice bunt, Granderson lofted Mike Mussina's 0-2, elevated fastball into the gap in left-center field for an RBI triple, and the Tigers took a 4-3 lead they would keep.

Big number
Fifty-three. The number of pitches Verlander needed to get through the game's first three innings. The fact that the Yankees worked the rookie so thoroughly and got nothing out of it in that span was a testament to his ability to maintain a focus that defies his youth.

Game balls (out of five)
Granderson, five. Following up his three-hit night in Game 1, Granderson came through with a sacrifice fly and an RBI triple in this one.

Joel Zumaya, five. A stellar outing for the young right-hander made the potent middle of the Yankees order look mighty tame.

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Verlander, four. He wasn't efficient with his pitches, and he gave up a big blast to Johnny Damon in the fourth, but he kept the Tigers in the ballgame, which is exactly what they asked of the youngster.

Jamie Walker, four. In relief of Verlander in the sixth, he induced a big double-play ball out of Robinson Cano, preserving a 3-3 tie.

Sense of October
Down a run in the sixth, Carlos Guillen delivered. His 2-0 solo shot to right tied it up and showed that this Tigers lineup is not intimidated by the allure of Yankee Stadium.

Lines of the Game
Marcus Thames
4 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Comment: Got the Tigers on the board with his RBI single in the second and scored runs in the second and seventh.

Joel Zumaya
1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 Ks
Comment: The hard-throwing right-hander made a huge difference in this game, preserving a one-run lead in the seventh and eighth innings by holding the middle of the Yankees order at bay, striking out Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez in back-to-back at-bats in the eighth.

Next step
The Tigers have an excellent opportunity to jump into the driver's seat now. Their veteran leader, Kenny Rogers, will have to shake off his past postseason struggles and come up with a strong start in Game 3 on Friday night to make it happen.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.