ARLINGTON, Texas -- Somewhere in the back of Mitch Moreland's mind -- and maybe even in the front -- the first baseman had to know that his starting spot for Game 3 was in jeopardy with the way he's been swinging the bat.
Add to that letting a grounder slip between his legs for an error, and the pressure was surely mounting. So when he stepped to the plate to face Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Moreland had a shot to be the hero and gain some personal momentum.
"Corners [first and third basemen] are going to be in. I hit it right to him; kind of the way it went," Moreland said. "I was trying to stay in the middle of the field; a fastball in and I just pulled it right at him."
Him is Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who fielded Moreland's grounder cleanly, made an accurate throw to catcher Alex Avila for the force at home and then made a nice catch-and-tag as Moreland desperately tried to beat out the play.
He didn't, and the 3-2-3 double play ended the ninth with the score still tied, 3-3. Before Moreland, David Murphy lofted a fly ball to left that was too shallow for Adrian Beltre to tag at third for the first out.
"He got the ball quick and there's not a whole lot you can do about it," Moreland said of Cabrera. "It's not the feeling you want. Thank goodness we came through."
The Rangers did, behind the return of Nelson Cruz's power stroke. Unfortunately for Moreland, his 2-for-17 performance at the plate, including 0-for-4 Monday with three strikeouts, has led manager Ron Washington to sit Moreland in Tuesday's Game 3 and start Michael Young at first base.