Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Defensive difference: Tigers turn key DP in 1st
By Jeff Caplan
DETROIT -- Much like the Detroit Tigers in Games 1 and 2, the Texas Rangers failed to take advantage of a golden scoring opportunity in the first inning of Tuesday's Game 3 on the Tigers' turf.
Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton all singled to start the game against Detroit right-hander Doug Fister for a quick-strike, 1-0 lead. Struggling cleanup hitter Michael Young came up next with runners on the corners and a chance to put the desperate Tigers in an early hole.
But Young bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to take the steam out of the inning. Adrian Beltre then struck out and Fister seemed to use the escape as fuel for the remainder of the game. He outpitched Colby Lewis and gave the Tigers 7 1/3 innings when they had to have it.
A base hit by Young, even a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead, might have provided a different storyline.
"For sure, that's the way you want to start a game and that double play kind of killed the inning a little bit," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "But, he [Fister] is a tough guy, he keeps the ball down and it's pretty hard to get good contact against him."
Young finished the night 0-for-4 to drop his postseason batting average to .083 with no RBIs after setting career highs with a .338 average and 106 RBIs in the regular season.
But Andrus is right, Fister proved to be tough. In the third inning it was Andrus' turn to hit into a double play. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta got a head start on the grounder to the left of second base because Kinsler, who led off the inning by beating out an infield chopper over the mound, was stealing.
Peralta stepped on second and threw out Andrus -- who is hitting just .200 in the postseason -- for the second twin-killing in three innings.
Over the next four innings, Fister allowed just two baserunners.