Justin Verlander cruises, Tigers top Yanks in ALCS Game 3

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The Tigers are one win away from the World Series.

Justin Verlander allowed just one run over 8 1/3 innings and Delmon Young homered as the Tigers rolled to a 2-1 defeat of the Yankees on Tuesday at Comerica Park, pushing their ALCS lead to 3-0.

Verlander finished with only three strikeouts, but he issued no walks and surrendered just three hits while hitting 99 mph with ease near the back end of his 132-pitch count. Only Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez managed to reach base against him. Nunez hit a solo shot in the ninth. Ichiro tallied two singles.

Verlander has struggled in past postseasons (2006 and 2011), but he’s quickly making that a distant memory this October. The 29-year-old right-hander boasts a sparkling 0.74 ERA, a 0.62 WHIP and 25 strikeouts through 24 1/3 innings (three starts) in these playoffs. He has walked just five batters.

The Yankees will try to get in the win column in this best-of-seven series on Wednesday night when ace left-hander CC Sabathia squares off against Max Scherzer in Game 4. The Tigers will be seeking the sweep.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.