x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

MLB playoffs: New York slump again as Cardinals hang on for win over San Francisco

Detroit Tigers made it two wins from two in their championship series against the Yankees thanks to inspired pitching from Anibal Sanchez, while St Louis almost blew a 6-0 lead against the Giants.

Detroit's Omar Infante dives back to second base as New York's Robinson Cano reaches to tag him during their championship series match
Detroit's Omar Infante dives back to second base as New York's Robinson Cano reaches to tag him during their championship series match

Anibal Sanchez shut down the New York Yankees as the Detroit Tigers made it two wins out of two in their American League Championship Series with a 3-0 victory.

Sanchez hurled seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out seven.

"I took it inning by inning, hitter by hitter. I feel good," Sanchez said. "The team helped me. It was a good game for me and for the team. We need to keep winning. The Yankees are a good team. We can't give them anything."

After regular closer Jose Valverde blew a four-run lead in the ninth yesterday, the Tigers this time turned to Phil Coke, who took the ball in the eighth and earned a two-inning save.

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda also threw six shutout frames but allowed one in the seventh and another two in the eighth before being pulled.

In a game in which runs were hard to come by, Miguel Cabrera led the Detroit offence with two hits and an RBI.

Worryingly for the Yankees, the seven-game series now heads to Detroit.

Two-run homers from David Freese and Carlos Beltran helped the St Louis Cardinals to a 6-4 win over the San Francisco Giants in the opening game of the National League Championship Series.

Freese homered in the second before Beltran's blast capped a four-run top of the fourth for the Cardinals, which gave them a 6-0 cushion.

"I feel like I'm seeing the ball well," Beltran said. "My approach at the plate is really good. It was a good day for me. It's good for us to get the first game of the series."

Pete Kozma smacked a run-scoring double in the fourth, stole third base and crossed the plate himself on a Jon Jay single to add to the Cardinals' scoring surge and send San Francisco starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner to the showers.

But the Giants responded with a four-run fourth inning of their own to pull within 6-4.

Brandon Belt's two-out single drove in the first San Francisco run and Gregor Blanco followed with a two-run triple to centre field and scored on Brandon Crawford's double to right.

The teams' relief pitchers combined to allow only one hit after the fourth inning until the bottom of the ninth, when the Giants had their last chance to escape defeat.

Angel Pagan smacked a two-out single into right field, bringing San Francisco's hottest hitter, Marco Scutaro, to the plate. But Scutaro grounded out to end the game.

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