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Yankees testing Detroit defense in Game 1

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
It hasn't paid off yet, but Derek Jeter and the Yankees have the right idea at the plate. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- The key to putting runs on the board against the Tigers? Putting the ball in play.

To be sure, that can be an exacting task, what with swing-and-missers like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in the rotation. As the A's learned in the ALDS, however, if you don't put the ball in play, you can't take advantage of that porous Detroit defense, which was one of baseball's worst in the regular season.

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Thus far in Game 1 of the ALCS, Yankees hitters have the right idea, as they've struck out only once and have just two swinging strikes on the night. Of course, the Tigers have responded by turning a nifty inning-ending 6-4 putout in the first, nipping Robinson Cano to end the second (although it appeared to be a blown call that cost the Yankees a run) and doubling up Eeyore Alex Rodriguez to end the third. Still, the Tigers have only one plus defender on the entire diamond -- Austin Jackson in center -- and if you continue making them field the ball, they'll slip up eventually.

Of course, putting maple on cowhide is easier when you're not facing Messrs. Verlander and Scherzer.

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