What it means: That A.J. Burnett, a middle reliever just two days ago, has suddenly become a very, VERY important player in this series. And that is never good news for the Yankees. A ninth-inning rally comes close but falls short as Robinson Cano, representing the winning run, grounds out to end the game in a driving rainstorm. The loss ensures that Burnett's Game 4 start will be pivotal, and perhaps crucial to the Yankees hopes for a long playoff run.
Sweaty Freddy: Although it was a cool 61 degrees at first pitch, Freddy Garcia came out sweating bullets and, after surrendering four runs in 5 1/3 IP, left the same way. Garcia's exit in the sixth was hastened by Derek Jeter's throwing error, which started the Tigers' two-run rally.
Mighty Max: The Yankees still have never beaten Max Scherzer, who is now 4-0 in four lifetime starts against them. Despite forcing Scherzer to throw 27 pitches to get through the first inning, the Yankees did not have a hit until Cano dumped a single into short left with one out in the sixth inning.
Whatever happened to the Spirit of 2009?: Alex Rodriguez, who seemed to have shed the label of October Bust, is back to square one with Yankees fans, who booed him in his last two at-bats, when he popped out twice to right. A-Rod is now 7-39 (.179) since the 2009 World Series, with no home runs and 3 RBI.
Use your head, Brett: Yet another example of a head-first slide costing a player a hit occurred in the third inning, when Gardner beat the flip from second baseman Ramon Santiago only to miss the bag with his left hand as he slid by, and was out.
Curtis Blow: Curtis Granderson rapped a 1-1 pitch from Joaquin Benoit into the lower right-field seats to finally put the Yankees on the board in the eighth inning.
Swisssssh!: Nick Swisher got off his post-season schneid with a HR leading off the ninth off Tigers closer Jose Valverde. The HR raised Swisher's career post-season average to .169.
Wheels Posada: Jorge Posada, with some help from a fumble-fingered Austin Jackson, lined a triple to deep center in the ninth off Valverde, his first career post-season triple and just the 10th of his career, spanning more than 6,000 at-bats.
Drive this: Miguel Cabrera's first-inning home run sailed into the right-field seats, close to the area that serenaded him with chants of "D-U-I!'' in Game 1, a rather impolite reference to his off-season troubles.
Let down by the looseleaf: Joe Girardi chose to have Garcia pitch to Cabrera with runners at the corners in the sixth rather than walk him to face Victor Martinez, whom Garcia had struck out twice previously. The move backfired when Cabrera shot an RBI single to center, and it turned out not to matter when V-Mart followed with an RBI single, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead and chasing Garcia.
What's next: Flight to Detroit, followed by a rematch of the heavyweight bout between aces CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, cut short Friday night by the rainstorm that caused Game 1 to be suspended for a day. If Verlander wins it, the Yankees' season comes down to three terrifying words: A. J. Burnett.