Tigers finish off sweep of Yankees to advance to World Series

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We know one team who will still be alive next Wednesday.

Finishing off a thoroughly dominating performance, the Tigers topped the Yankees 8-1 at Comerica Park today to sweep the ALCS in four games and advance to the World Series.

CC Sabathia is a pretty good pitcher to have on your side facing elimination, but he just didn’t have it today. The big southpaw didn’t get much help from his defense, especially in the third inning, but he gave up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and two walks over just 3 2/3 innings. This included a pair of two-run homers by Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the bottom of the fourth inning. Not a good time for Sabathia’s shortest outing of the season.

While Sabathia struggled, Max Scherzer was dominant over his 5 2/3 innings of work. He didn’t allow a hit until the top of the sixth inning and struck out 10. The Tigers pounded out 16 hits on the day, just six less than the Yankees had for the entire series. Peralta socked a pair of homers while seven out of the nine hitters in Jim Leyland’s lineup had at least two hits.

The pathetic output from the Yankees’ lineup has naturally received much of the attention nationally, but the Tigers’ rotation deserves plenty of credit for shutting them down. Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez combined to allow just two runs over 27 1/3 innings during the series. That’s a 0.66 ERA.

While things got a little interesting in Game 1, this was one of the more dominating series victories you’ll see. The Tigers are the fifth team in MLB history to sweep a best-of-seven series while never trailing and the first to do it since the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series. This is the first time the Yankees have been swept in a seven-game series since the 1976 World Series against the Reds. They were swept in three games by the Royals in the 1980 ALCS.

The Tigers will have a little while to rest before Game 1 of the World Series next Wednesday night. They’ll start the series on the road and will meet either the Cardinals or the Giants.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.