Defensive difference: Crucial twin killing


ARLINGTON, Texas -- A sharper 5-4-3 double-play tandem might not exist in baseball. At least Texas Rangers Game 1 starter C.J. Wilson doesn't think so.

Third baseman Adrian Beltre and second baseman Ian Kinsler turned two rapid-fire double plays in the first three innings. They got the first one in the first with the bases loaded, a play that after the Rangers secured a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers for a 1-0 leads in the ALCS, loomed as perhaps the one with the most impact in a long, rain-soaked night.

Wilson found himself in a heap of early trouble after allowing consecutive singles and then walking cleanup hitter Victor Martinez to load the bases. That brought up Maggio Ordonez, who entered the game batting .455 in the postseason.

"C.J. made a great pitch on Magglio, a cut fastball in and got him to ground it to third," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

If Wilson doesn't get Ordonez, the Tigers take the early lead and might have been on their way to a big start with ace Justin Verlander waiting to take the mound.

Instead, Wilson made the pitch he desperately needed to make. The ball bounced to Beltre down the line. He fielded it cleanly on a hop and quickly launched the throw the Kinsler, who completed the double play with a rocket to first baseman Mitch Moreland.

"If I get a good throw right there -- it was a perfect throw -- I was able to come across the bag and avoid Raburn trying to break it up," Kinsler said. "That was a huge play."

Wilson, who led the majors with a club-record 31 double plays, got another in the third inning after walking the lead-off man, Ryan Raburn.

"When you have a guy like Kinsler up the middle that can throw as well as he can, there's not too many second baseman in the league that can get rid of the ball, and obviously he's the key component in the equation there. Adrian making the play, the first play to get the ball over there is good, but at the same time Kinsler getting rid of it as fast as he did was really the thing."