Friday, October 14, 2011

Detroit avoids elimination and the series heads back to Texas

The Detroit Tigers defeated the Texas Rangers by the score of 7-5 on Thursday evening. The Tigers with the win staved off elimination and forced a game Six back in Texas on Saturday night. The game wasn’t really in doubt but it got interesting in the end as Justin Verlander threw 133 pitches and Phil Coke finished off the game because the Detroit bullpen was so worn out. Verlander threw well even though it wasn’t great once again and C.J. Wilson was cruising along for Texas until a lucky bounce for Detroit and then it all fell apart in the sixth inning.
C.J. Wilson pitched six innings giving up eight hits and six runs with two walks and five strikeouts. He took the loss in the game. Koji Uehara came into the game and wasn’t very good, he pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a hit and a run with a walk and a strikeout. The last 1 1/3 innings were good for the Texas bullpen as they gave up one hit and struck out one. Verlander for the Tigers pitched 7 1/3 innings giving up eight hits and four runs. He walked three and struck out eight. He has been heroic in the postseason but clearly isn’t the same dominating pitcher. He has a 5.56 ERA in the postseason. Verlander picked up the win and Coke pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up two hits and a run with a walk and a strikeout.

The Texas offense was spread out as they had ten hits. Ian Kinsler had a hit and a walk, Elvis Andrus had a hit and Josh Hamilton had two hits and two RBI. Michael Young had two hits and an RBI, Adrian Beltre had a walk and Mike Napoli had two hits and a walk. Nelson Cruz had a hit and two RBI, David Murphy had a hit and Mitch Moreland had a walk. Kinsler, Young, Murphy and Hamilton all had a double. Cruz had another homerun his fifth of the series. The Rangers were 2-9 with runners in scoring position and they left ten on base. Andrus made a throwing error.

Delmon Young led the Detroit offense with two hits and three RBI. He had two homeruns. Ryan Raburn had two hits and an RBI, Miguel Cabrera had a hit, RBI and two walks and Victor Martinez had a hit and an RBI. Brandon Inge had a hit and a walk, Alex Avila had a hit and an RBI and Ramon Santiago had two hits. Cabrera had a double and Martinez had a triple. Avila and Raburn also had homeruns to go along with the two by Young. The Tigers were 2-5 with runners in scoring position and they left four men on base. Cabrera had a stolen base and Santiago made an error.

In the first inning Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to give Texas a 1-0 lead. In the third Avila hit a solo homerun to tie the game at one. In the fourth Young hit a solo homerun to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. Hamilton hit an RBI single in the fifth to tie the game at two. In the sixth Cabrera hit an RBI double, Martinez hit an RBI triple and Young hit a two run homerun to give Detroit a 6-2 lead. The hit by Cabrera would of probably been a routine out but instead hit the third base bag and rolled into the outfield for a double and that started the big inning. In the seventh Raburn hit a solo homerun to give Detroit a 7-2 lead. The Rangers started their comeback in the eighth with a two run homerun by Cruz to make it 7-4. In the ninth Young hit an RBI single to make it 7-5 and that was how the game would end.

The Tigers now trail the series three games to two and they will head to Texas to try and force a Game Seven. The series will take a day off on Friday and return on Saturday night. These games have been great and the Tigers have shown resilience. The Rangers I am sure are disappointed they didn’t win it in Game Five but probably feel good about going home to try and win the American League pennant and head to the World Series.

Cruz set an LCS record with five homeruns in the series. The pitching matchup in Game Six is Derek Holland against Max Scherzer. The Rangers twice in this game failed to get runners home from third with less then two outs. They made Verlander work hard but they didn’t get the big blow when they needed it. The Tigers hit for the natural cycle in a 2-2 game. It was the first natural cycle in postseason history which is a single, double, triple and homerun in the same inning. Wilson who is a free agent and looking for a big payday is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three postseason starts this year. This has been a very good series and the drama will continue to unfold on Saturday night, will the Rangers finish the Tigers off or will the Tigers force a winner take all Game Seven? Stay tuned to find out on Saturday.

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