ALCS baseball playoffs
The Rangers are mortal after all: Detroit notches a game 3 win after an historic game 2 homer
Following one of the most exciting postseason games played at The Ballpark at Arlington in which Nelson Cruz launched the first walk-off grand slam in major league baseball history on Monday, Texas took a commanding 2-0 in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the Detroit Tigers. The Rangers quickly came back to earth Tuesday evening as the Tigers rallied behind a strong outing from starter, Doug Fister, winning 5-2
Fister recovered from a shaky first inning when Texas put three men on base to pitch 7 1/3 innings only allowing Texas four more hits the rest of the way. Since being picked up by the Tigers at the trade deadline from Seattle, the hurler has notched a 10-2 record including post-season starts.
Rangers starting pitcher, Colby Lewis suffered his first playoff loss last night, giving up a two-strike shot to Detroit veteran, Victor Martinez to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Martinez paid a price for his heroics, injuring his leg when he sent the ball screaming over the right-field fence. His Tiger teammates looked unsure whether to congratulate him on the homer or console the DH after he hobbled around the bases.
The Tigers struggled in Game 2 to score but found a way to put runs on the scoreboard after returning to Detroit. Manager Jim Leyland told MLB.com, “You find a way to win somehow. We did that tonight.”
In Game 2, Cruz provided most of the offensive fireworks for the Rangers, tying the game in the seventh inning by blasting a shot over the fence off Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Cruz has been hot all series, hitting three homers in two games for Texas. Fans may remember what may have been Cruz’s second most exciting post-season homer, in last year’s deciding Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees the slugger hit a 2-run blast that elicited a thunderous reaction from the Ranger fans.
Cruz was not the only hero on the Texas roster as the bullpen stepped up and turned in a splendid team effort with five relievers pitching 8 1/3 scoreless innings after starter Dave Holland left the game in the third, giving up a 3-run homer to Ryan Raburn. That blast gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
Tiger manager Jim Leyland commented after the game, “It has been two great games, they earned it and we didn’t quite get it done. We haven't been able to come up with any big hits.”
In fact, the game was a crusher for Detroit who had a chance to win the game in the ninth but left the bases loaded. In all, 19 runners were stranded on base between the two clubs adding to the suspense.
“Today, the ball was not carrying. But for Cruz, the ball was carrying,” lamented Detroit first basemen Angel Cabrerra.
Tonight, the Rangers play Detroit in Game 4 of the seven game series. Texas will face Rick Porcello on the mound for the Tigers setting up a guaranteed Game 5 contest against ace, Justin Verlander, a sure bet for the Cy Young award for baseball’s best pitcher according to ESPN.com’s Cy Young Predictor.
The Rangers will start lefty Matt Harrison. The challenge for Texas will be focusing on hitting Porcello and getting the win rather than the fact they will have to face a 25-game winner in Verlander in Game 5.
“We're worried about [Wednesday]," Texas' Mike Napoli said. "We're not worried about when Verlander's pitching or what's going on. They're all tough, they've got a great pitching staff, so we're going to think about [Wednesday]. We're going to go after Porcello, and try to get to him."
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 12, 4:00 p.m. ET
Stadium: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
Texas Rangers: Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39 ERA)
Detroit Tigers: Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.75 ERA)