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10/07/11 2:28 AM ET
Young sets Tigers' homer record before injury
Clubs third homer of Division Series, but later strains left oblique
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- If Delmon Young doesn't play another inning this postseason for the Tigers, he will have already have paid huge dividends. Young was claimed on waivers from the Twins and acquired in an Aug. 15 trade for two unheralded players. All he did in Detroit's five-game American League Division Series victory over the Yankees was hit three homers, including the second of back-to-back shots behind Don Kelly on consecutive pitches from Yankees starter Ivan Nova in the first inning on Thursday night. That staked the Tigers to a two-run lead on the way to a series-ending 3-2 victory. Young is the first player to ever hit three homers in any postseason series for the Tigers. Hank Greenberg didn't do it. Neither did Al Kaline, Kirk Gibson or Ivan Rodriguez. "Is that true? That's the first I've heard of it," Young said after the game, in the midst of a wild celebration in the Tigers' clubhouse. "I don't know much about Tigers history. I've only been here a few months. As long as we won the series, that's the important thing." Young left the game in the seventh inning after suffering what the club called a mild left oblique strain. He said he did it during his at-bat in that inning, when he popped out to second base. While his teammates nailed down the victory, Young took medical treatment. The Tigers aren't sure how serious the injury is and Young will be reevaluated Friday, according to trainer Kevin Rand. Whether Young is available for Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against Texas on Saturday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is still an open question. "I don't know, I hope so," Young said. "I'll do my best. I'll give it a shot." Throughout history, Major League Baseball's postseason is chocked with great performances by previously unheralded players. Young, who had never hit a homer in 27 playoff at-bats coming into this postseason, is the latest. His own playoff history in Minnesota was filled with frustrating losses to the Yankees, who swept the Twins out of the first round in each of the past two postseasons. So this was awfully tasty to Young. "Beating the Yankees in the postseason, I've never done that," Young said. "Now we have to go down to Texas and defeat the defending AL champions. This is a lot of fun, especially since nobody picked us to win the series." The right-handed-hitting Young previously homered in the first inning of the rain-suspended Game 1 off CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium, and he won Game 3 at Comerica Park with a seventh-inning shot off reliever Rafael Soriano. Both went to the opposite field. His long ball on Thursday was pulled to left field and came on Nova's first pitch of the at-bat. It was the first time a pair of Tigers had hit back-to-back homers in the postseason -- another little tidbit of Detroit sports history for Young, who said he hit a hanging slider off Nova. "It felt great," Young said. "We knew we had to come in here and score a bunch of runs early. They put so much pressure on you when they get runners on base later in the game, especially if it's tied. This time, it was good to put some pressure on them and have them down early."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.