We're down to the final four of our Dazzling Dozen and all of these, frankly, could have earned the No. 1 spot. So sit back and enjoy as we head into the stretch drive.
No. 4: Nelson Cruz hits walk-off grand slam in ALCS Game 2 vs. Detroit
It's one of those hits that will make any Rangers film or highlight package for the rest of the franchise's existance. Nelson Cruz did what players dream of in the backyard or on little league fields everywhere. He hit a home run in extra innings in front of a crowd of 50,000-plus fans to give his team a big victory and help them on the way to another World Series appearance.
But let's back up a minute. The Rangers went into the seventh inning of Game 2 down 3-2 to the Tigers, who were attempting to even the series at one game apiece and take home-field advantage away. Max Scherzer was still in the game when the seventh inning started and he got ahead of Cruz 1-2. But Cruz turned on the next pitch, tying the game with the solo shot.
The teams stayed scoreless until the 11th inning. Reliever Ryan Perry was on the mound for the Tigers and Michael Young hit a ground ball single through the left side to start the inning. Adrian Beltre singled to center and Mike Napoli's fly ball dropped Austin Jackson in center and Andy Dirks in right. That loaded the bases for Cruz.
Cruz fouled off two sliders to fall behind in the count and then laid off a fastball out of the zone. On a 1-2 count, Perry threw another slider and Cruz was ready. Needing just a sacrifice fly to win the game, Cruz crushed a fly ball that stayed fair to left field.
He put his arms out to his side, almost like an airplane and smiled at the Rangers' dugout. His teammates mobbed him at home plate. And Cruz made history. It was the first walk-off grand slam in postseason history.
The homer ended one of the best games played in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington history (several players echoed that sentiment after the game was over).
What it meant: The win gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the AL Championship Series and was just the start to a ridiculous six-game series for Nelson Cruz. He ended up with six homers and 13 RBIs, the first player in history to do that in a postseason series. Cruz was the ALCS MVP thanks to his big hits at the plate and a memorable throw at home plate in Game 5 to get Miguel Cabrera (that's been talked about previously on the Dazzling Dozen).
The aftermath: The Rangers won the series against the Tigers in six games and don't discount that Game 2 as a big reason. They went to Detroit with a 2-0 lead and home-field advantage intact. Texas lost two of three in Detroit, but won the series in Game 6. Cruz's grand slam meant that they could lose two games in Detroit and still come home with the advantage in the series.