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By NOAH TRISTERAP Sports Writer=

DETROIT (AP) _ Max Scherzer capped a stupendous stretch for
Detroit’s starting rotation, and the Tigers advanced to the World
Series for the second time in seven years by beating the New York
Yankees 8-1 Thursday for a four-game sweep of the AL championship
series.

Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in a
four-run fourth inning against CC Sabathia, who was unable to
prevent the Yankees from getting swept in a postseason series for
the first time in 32 years.

Scherzer took a no-hit bid into the sixth against a New York
starting lineup that was again without Alex Rodriguez, who flied
out with two on in the sixth as a pinch hitter.
Austin Jackson added a solo shot in the seventh for Detroit, and
Peralta hit another homer an inning later to make it 8-1.

Detroit won its 11th American League pennant and first since
2006. The Tigers have five days off before the World Series starts
Wednesday at defending champion St. Louis or 2010 winner San
Francisco.

After scoring in just three of 39 innings during the series, New
York heads home to face unpleasant questions about its future
following a postseason of awful hitting, benched stars and veterans
showing the wear and tear of age. Rodriguez, the $275 million third
baseman, was out of the starting lineup for the third time in the
playoffs. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could only watch following
season-ending injuries.

Detroit, without a World Series title since 1984, lost to Texas
in last year’s ALCS but signed slugger Prince Fielder in the
offseason. The excitement of that bold move subsided a bit when the
Tigers struggled to a 26-32 start in the AL Central, but they
overtook the Chicago White Sox in the final 10 days of the regular
season and won the division with an 88-74 record, matching the
Cardinals for the fewest wins among the 10 playoff teams. And in
the postseason, their starting rotation has been impeccable.

Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister
allowed only two earned runs against the Yankees. New York was shut
out once and totaled six runs in the series.

The Yankees lost Jeter to a broken ankle in the opening game,
and the slumping Rodriguez was benched for Game 3. He was out of
the starting lineup for Game 4 too, but A-Rod did have one last
chance to turn his postseason around when Scherzer was lifted for
left-hander Drew Smyly with two outs in the sixth and the Tigers up
6-1.

As Smyly finished warming up, Rodriguez popped out of the dugout
to pinch hit for Raul Ibanez, but with men on first and third, he
hit a routine fly to center field. He grounded out in the ninth,
completing a postseason with no RBIs.

The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only
the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS
against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight
against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.

Detroit also beat New York in the division series in 2006 and
last year. The Tigers became the first team to win three straight
postseason series against the Yankees, according to STATS, LLC.
New York never led in this series _ the only other time that’s
happened to the Yankees was when they were swept by the Los Angeles
Dodgers in the 1963 World Series.

After a rainout Wednesday, Game 4 started under a sunny sky, and
Detroit immediately took the lead on Delmon Young’s RBI single.
Young became the first player with four game-winning RBIs in one
postseason series, STATS said.

Avisail Garcia drove in an unearned run in the third with a
single before the Tigers broke it open in the fourth. Cabrera, the
first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, made it 4-0 with a towering
drive to left field. Peralta drove in two more runs with his shot
to the same part of the ballpark.

After Andy Dirks doubled, Sabathia was pulled. He allowed five
earned runs and 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings.

When the fourth inning finally ended, the crowd at Comerica Park
gave the Tigers a standing ovation, sensing that an even bigger
celebration wasn’t too far off.

Scherzer made sure of that. The right-hander was terrific down
the stretch for the Tigers before his throwing shoulder acted up
near the end of the regular season. He made it through 5 1-3
innings in the division series against Oakland without allowing an
earned run, then kept the Yankees off the scoreboard until Eduardo
Nunez tripled in the sixth for New York’s first hit and scored on
Nick Swisher’s double.

Swisher, likely playing his last game with the Yankees, was 1
for 35 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career
before that hit. He struck out with two on and two outs in the
third.

About the only thing the Yankees had done well in this
postseason was pitch, and Sabathia failed to keep that going. He
didn’t have much help from his defense. Teixeira, a four-time Gold
Glove winner at first base, misplayed two grounders in the third _
one for an infield hit and one for an error.

NOTES: Cabrera has a hit in a record 17 straight LCS games. He’s
reached base in all 20 of his postseason games with the Tigers, a
team record. … Sabathia was 4-0 in his previous eight postseason
starts. … Thursday was the 35th anniversary of Reggie Jackson’s
three-homer game for the Yankees in the World Series against the
Dodgers. … New York scored seven runs at Baltimore in the
division series opener, then was held to four or fewer in the next
eight games. The Yankees’ longest previous stretch like that in
postseason play came in 2001, when they were held to four or fewer
run in all seven games of the World Series by Arizona.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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