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Sunday, October 16, 2011
Cruz powers Rangers return to World Series


Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom half of the third inning in Game 6 of the ALCS, the Texas Rangers responded with an unforgettable frame.

The breakdown: nine runs, 14 batters, four Detroit Tigers pitchers (who combined to throw 50 pitches) for a half inning that took 37 minutes to complete. Six innings (and six more runs) later, the Rangers had clinched a return trip to the World Series by way of a 15-5 rout.

The Rangers are the first American League team to win consecutive pennants since the 2000-01 Yankees. Their 15 runs tied the most by a winning team in an elimination game, matching the 1996 Braves, who scored a 15-0 win against the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS.

Powering the way for the Rangers was ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz who hit his sixth home run of the series in the win. His six home runs are the most by a player in any postseason series.

Cruz also added 13 RBI, alsothe most by a player in a postseason series in MLB history. Bobby Richardson had 12 RBI for the Yankees in the 1960 World Series for the Yankees; John Valentin had 12 RBI in the 1999 ALDS for the Red Sox.

The power surge by Cruz is perhaps more interesting considering how he was a non-factor at the plate in the Rangers’ previous series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Cruz managed just one hit in 15 at-bats and failed to drive in a single run.

Texas’ offensive outburst came in support of a starting rotation that saw its postseason struggles continue.

Derek Holland (4 2/3 IP, 4 ER) continued a trend of short outings for Rangers starters; no Rangers starting pitcher has completed more than six innings in any game so far this postseason (10 games).

They became the first team to ever have a streak of 10 such games in a single postseason. The previous record was nine by the 2005 Angels.

The Rangers starters finished this series with a 6.59 ERA, the second-worst starters’ ERA in the ALCS by any team that won the series.

Despite the loss, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera still shined in defeat. Cabrera hit a pair of home runs and finished the ALCS with a .400/.556/1.050 line in the loss.

His first home run extended his hit streak in LCS games to 13, tied for third-longest in LCS history.