Cruz slams his way into history

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
9:46
PM ET
The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers battled for over four hours in Arlington on Monday afternoon and into the night before Nelson Cruz made baseball history with one swing of the bat.

Cruz, on a two-strike slider in the bottom of the 11th inning, hit the first-ever postseason walk-off grand slam, to give the Rangers a 7-3 win and a 2-0 lead in the ALCS over the Tigers.

This is the first walk-off postseason win for the Rangers, and it's the first time the Tigers had a postseason walk-off loss since Game 1 of the 1972 ALCS against the Athletics.

It was the second homer of the game for Cruz, who became just the seventh player in postseason history to hit two home runs in the seventh inning or later in the same game. He's the first of those players to have both home runs either tie the game or give his team the lead.

There have now been four grand slams in this postseason so far, which is already one shy of the record for the most grand slams in a single postseason. There were five in 1998, and also four in 1999 and 2005.

Rangers starter Derek Holland was knocked out early, allowing three runs before leaving with one out in the third inning. He walked four batters, becoming the first Rangers pitcher to issue four walks in fewer than three innings pitched.

The Texas bullpen pitched 8⅓ scoreless innings, tied for the second-most scoreless relief innings pitched by a team in a postseason game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only the 1964 Cardinals had more, with 8⅔ scoreless relief innings in Game 4 of the World Series against the Yankees.

Scott Feldman relieved Holland and pitched 4⅓ innings without allowing a run. That is the longest scoreless relief appearance in a game that pitcher's team won since Pedro Martinez tossed six innings of scoreless, no-hit relief in the Red Sox' 1999 ALDS Game 5 win over the Indians.

It was also Feldman's second scoreless relief appearance of at least three innings in this postseason. He is the first pitcher since Alejandro Pena for the 1988 Dodgers to have multiple scoreless relief appearances of three-or-more innings in the same postseason.

Both teams had a decent chance to win the game in the ninth inning as they loaded the bases but failed to score. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time both teams loaded the bases and didn't score in the same inning, in the ninth inning or later in a postseason game, was the Braves and Astros in Game 3 of the 1999 NLDS.

The ALCS now moves to Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday night. The Tigers will have to overcome long odds to make a trip to the World Series, though. Elias reports that teams to go down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win the series only 13 of 71 times (18.3 percent).

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