Hiroki Kuroda retired his first 15 batters before Jhonny Peralta singled, and the New York Yankees pressed ahead without injured captain Derek Jeter and were scoreless with the Detroit Tigers after six innings on Sunday in Game 2 of the AL championship series.
Jeter was away getting scans, a day after breaking his left ankle in the 12th inning of the opener, which the Tigers won 6-4 despite closer Jose Valverde allowing two-run homers to Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez in the ninth. Jeter was replaced at shortstop by Jayson Nix.
Since both LCS became best-of-seven in 1995, 19 of 22 teams with 2-0 leads have gone on to win the pennant. After a day off, the series resumes Tuesday in Detroit with AL MVP Justin Verlander starting for the Tigers and Phil Hughes for New York.
Kuroda, a 37-year-old right-hander pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his big league career, dominated with a mix of fastballs, sliders and splitters. He allowed one hit through six innings, walked none and struck out eight — including seven of his first nine batters.
Anibal Sanchez was nearly as efficient, allowing three hits, striking out five and walking two.
On manager Joe Girardi's 48th birthday, New York's slump at the plate continued.
Robinson Cano, batting second for the first time since September 2010, grounded out in the first, third innings and sixth innings, and is hitless in 25 at-bats.
Alex Rodriguez took a called third strike on a changeup in the second and struck out on a checked swing in the fourth, dropping to 2 for 21 with no RBIs in the postseason, including 0 for 17 with 12 strikeouts against right-handers.
Curtis Granderson fanned twice, falling to 3 for 25 with 13 Ks.
Mark Teixeira doubled with two outs in the first and streaking Raul Ibanez walked. Russell Martin had a soft comebacker that Sanchez gloved behind his back before throwing to first.
Nick Swisher reached with two outs in the second on an infield hit, a liner that second baseman Omar Infante dived for but allowed to squirt out of his glove. Nix flied out to the left-field warning track on a ball Quintin Berry at first misjudged.
Suzuki reached on an error leading off the sixth when Sanchez missed his spinning bouncer and Infante slapped the ball to first too late to retire the speedy runner.
Suzuki advanced to third on Cano's comebacker and Teixeira's grounder to shortstop. Ibanez was intentionally walked, and Peralta made a barehanded pickup of Russell Martin's slow three-hopper to shortstop and threw to first for the inning-ending out.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before the game that he would not use Valverde to close Sunday but that the right-hander remained his closer.