Don Kelly and Delmon Young belted back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning and the Detroit Tigers never relinquished the lead en route to winning the American League Division Series with a 3-2 victory over the host New York Yankees in Thursday's deciding Game 5.
The Tigers received five strong innings from starter Doug Fister and stellar work from their bullpen in advancing to the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2006, when they beat New York in four games.
Detroit will visit West Division champion Texas in Game 1 of the best-of-seven ALCS on Saturday night.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who was a perfect 49-for-49 in save chances this season, pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his second save of the series and give Detroit an 86-0 record when leading after eight innings this season.
The Tigers quickly silenced the crowd at Yankee Stadium when Kelly and Young went deep off Yankees starter Ivan Nova (1-1), who was pulled after two innings with tightness in his forearm.
Young became the first player in franchise history to go deep three times in a playoff series, but he had to leave with an oblique injury in the seventh inning, putting his status in question for the upcoming series.
Nova's absence forced manager Joe Girardi to bring in a stream of relievers, including ace CC Sabathia, who was touched for a run in the fifth on Victor Martinez's RBI single that gave Detroit a 3-0 lead.
Fister (1-1) limited the Yankees to one run on five hits in five innings, yielding only a solo home run to Robinson Cano in the fifth inning.
The loser in relief in Game 1, Fister's biggest moment came when he escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
New York also had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but could manage only one run on a walk to Mark Teixeira.
Cano's homer, his ninth RBI of the series and eighth career postseason blast, cut the deficit to 3-1.