Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Tigers 3

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
9:38
PM CT


DETROIT -- The Rangers won another extra-inning game, coming from behind to do it. They take a 3-1 lead in the series and have a chance to secure another trip to the World Series in Game 5 on Thursday at Comerica Park. Some quick thoughts (plenty more to come from the clubhouse):

* It was a big 11th inning that finished things off for Texas. Josh Hamilton led off with a double and then Jim Leyland decided to intentionally walk Adrian Beltre to pitch to Mike Napoli. That move backfired when Napoli hit a single to drive in Hamilton with the go-ahead run.

* Nelson Cruz then followed up with a three-run homer into the Tigers' bullpen. It was the 10th postseason homer of his career and his fourth of this series. It's the second time he's hit one in the 11th. He's the first player to have two extra-inning home runs in the same postseason series and the fourth to have two extra-inning homers in a postseason career (ESPN Stats & Information).

* With the game tied in the eighth, Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, putting the go-ahead run on base. Victor Martinez's single put runners on the corners with one out. But Cruz's arm came to the rescue. Delmon Young's fly ball down the foul line in right was caught by Cruz, who threw a one-hop rope to home to get Cabrera easily as he tried to tag up. That ended the inning. Cruz raised his arms in celebration after the throw. The play kept the game tied and made sure Washington's decision worked.

* Napoli, who absorbed a hard collision in Tampa during the ALDS, blocked the plate and had time to turn and tag Cabrera, who knocked him over on more of a glancing blow. Napoli has shown his toughness defending the plate.

* Napoli also showed off his arm, making a tremendous throw to second to get Austin Jackson trying to steal the base with one out in the 10th. Napoli gloved the high pitch, set his feet and made a great throw to Ian Kinsler, who snapped a quick tag.

* Alexi Ogando is human after all. On an 0-2 pitch to No. 9 hitter Brandon Inge in the seventh, Ogando left a 98 mph fastball a little up and Inge crushed it out to left to tie the score. Inge had just three homers in the regular season, all of which came against left-handed pitchers.

* The homer came after the Rangers had taken the lead with a productive sixth inning. Down 2-0 and unable to do much against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, the Rangers struck for three runs with timely hits, aggressive baserunning and an ability to take advantage of Tigers mistakes. A look:

-- Give Rangers third-base coach Dave Anderson credit for sending David Murphy on Ian Kinsler's one-out double in the sixth. Delmon Young had trouble getting to it after it bounced off the wall, and Anderson waved Murphy in. The throw from Young missed the cutoff man and Murphy scored easily.

-- Kinsler made things happen with his feet. On a 2-2 pitch with one out and Elvis Andrus at the plate, Kinsler stole third. He barely made it before the tag, but that forced the Tigers to bring the infield in. On a 3-2 pitch, Andrus hit one over second base and into right field to tie the score.

-- Andrus' speed clearly worried the Tigers. Porcello threw over several times and one throw was wild and ended up in the Rangers' dugout. That sent Andrus to second.

-- Young, batting just 3-for-29 in the playoffs heading into the inning, hit a single to center to score Andrus. It was some vindication not only for Young, but for Ron Washington. The skipper stuck with his slugger in the cleanup spot and he came up big with a go-ahead run late.

* As the top of the fifth inning ended on a nice double play started by Porcello, Cabrera was jawing with the Rangers' dugout. Not sure what it was all about, but the Rangers broke loose the next inning.

* Cabrera came up with runners at first and second and two outs. Much like in Game 3, Texas probably didn't want to walk Cabrera and put another runner into scoring position by loading the bases. But the plan was likely to pitch around him. Matt Harrison, though, got a fastball in the middle of the zone and Cabrera hit it to the left-center-field wall for a two-RBI double. That gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

* After struggling in the first inning during the series, the Tigers got the Rangers out in order -- and quickly. Porcello needed just eight pitches (seven strikes) to get Kinsler to ground out, Andrus to strike out and Hamilton to ground out to second (on one pitch).

* Porcello's slider was extremely impressive. Through three innings, he had five strikeouts and had allowed one hit (a double to Murphy on a changeup high in the zone). The slider was Porcello's out pitch and had great movement. His sinker was also working, especially inside to right-handed hitters. Porcello was out after 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

* The double play saved Harrison in the first. After he gave up a leadoff walk to Jackson (Harrison was ahead 0-2 and lost him), Ryan Raburn hit a 3-2 pitch to third base to start a 5-4-3 double play. Harrison walked Cabrera, but got Martinez to pop up to end a 20-pitch frame.

* Despite not having his best stuff, Harrison was able to grind through five innings. He gave up two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He limited damage and he battled. Then his offense came through for him. And with a rested Alexi Ogando ready, Washington went to the bullpen to pitch to Cabrera to lead off the sixth.

* Murphy, who didn't play in Game 3, was 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, and he scored a run in the sixth.

* The ninth inning ended for the Rangers when Cruz went too soon trying to steal second. Joaquin Benoit, who takes a long time to throw a pitch home, stepped off and threw to second in plenty of time to get Cruz. Catcher Alex Avila even had time to tell Benoit to throw to second.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.323 17 65 64
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 65
RA. Beltre 64
OPSA. Beltre .879
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182