Defensive difference: Two cannon balls


DETROIT -- Two huge late-game throws propelled the Texas Rangers to victory in Wednesday's Game 4.

In the eighth inning, right-fielder Nelson Cruz preserved a 3-3 tie with a rocket throw to catcher Mike Napoli, who had time to brace for an impending collision with barreling Miguel Cabrera as he attempted to tag from third base.

Victor Martinez's fly to right wasn't hit especially deep and was directed toward the line. Still, the 240-pounder chugged down the line in attempt to re-gain the lead for the Detroit Tigers.

"You've got to go, you've got to take a shot to win right there," said Micheal Young, who was playing first base and watched Cruz's throw sail over his head. "If Nellie's throw is off by four feet he sneaks in there."

Nelson's throw was on the money and well in front of Cabrera, who tried to crash his way home safely. Napoli, who absorbed a shot in the ALDS from Sean Rodriguez, took another and held on tight.

Two innings later, his throw to second to nail Austin Jackson attempting to steal second with one out in the 10th. If Jackson reaches second, the Tigers have the winning run in scoring position with Ryan Raburn still up and big, bad Cabrera due up next.

Rangers reliever Scott Feldman was on the mound and he put Jackson on by hitting with an 0-1 pitch, a awful mistake that could have been costly. No one appreciated Napoli's spot-on throw than him.

"Play of the game, it was huge," Feldman said. "With Miguel lurking around there he was able to get that lead guy and really picked us all up, picked me up. ... That was a huge play, make a huge deal about it, I'd say. If he's safe, who knows what would have happened there."