ALCS Game 2: Nelson Cruz's Walk-Off Grand Slam Lifts Rangers Past Tigers In 11 Innings

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Tigers Vs. Rangers Score: Texas Beats Detroit, 7-3, In 11 Innings For 2-0 ALCS Lead

Keep playing with fire, and you will get burned.

After dodging a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, the Detroit Tigers couldn’t pull off the same escape again in the 11th. Taking over for Jose Valverde, Ryan Perry gave up three consecutive hits to the first three Rangers batters he faced and loaded the bases.

With no way to pitch around Nelson Cruz — who tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh with a home run off Max Scherzer — Perry hung a slider inside on a 1-2 count. Cruz obviously likes the ball inside, having turned on a high inside fastball for his homer off Scherzer. And he didn’t miss this pitch, either. Cruz teed off on the slider and launched into the left-field seats for a walkoff grand slam.

Perhaps the Tigers would have pitched around Cruz, however, had Andy Dirks not whiffed on catching a line drive by Mike Napoli into shallow right field. Both Dirks and Austin Jackson closed in on the ball, and perhaps fear of a collision (or waiting for someone to call for the play) prevented each outfielder to slow down just a step.

But the ball sailed just past Dirks’ outstretched glove to fall for a base hit. And had the ball not hit Austin Jackson’s ankle, it probably would’ve rolled to the wall and driven in the game-winning run.

As they travel back to Detroit for Tuesday’s Game 3 at Comerica Park, the Tigers can point to two things that may have prevented them from winning the game before it went to extra innings.

First, Detroit squandered big scoring opportunities in the first two innings.

In the first inning, Jackson and Ramon Santiago both reached base, giving Detroit two runners on with no outs. But a popout by Delmon Young, followed by two consecutive groundouts by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, prevented the Tigers from capitalizing.

In the second, the Tigers had the bases loaded with two outs, due to three walks by Holland. But Santiago hit into a fielder’s choice, again wasting another chance to put runs on the board.

But in the ninth, third base coach Gene Lamont made a decision that could end up haunting the Tigers throughout the offseason. Santiago reached base on a bloop single. After Texas brought in lefty Mike Gonzalez to face Don Kelly, Kelly doubled down the right-field line. But instead of waving Santiago around third to try and score, third base coach Gene Lamont held him up.

Would Santiago have scored? We’ll never know. Though it sure looked like he had a great chance. And after Lamont send dozens of baserunners home during the regular season, only to see them gunned down at the plate, he chose an interesting time to play it safe.

It’s not the reason Detroit lost the game, but it’s one reason and deserves some heavy scrutiny.

That leaves the Tigers down 0-2 in the ALCS as they head back to Detroit for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. First pitch for Tuesday’s game is set for 8:05 p.m. ET. Doug Fister starts for Detroit, while Colby Lewis gets the nod for the Rangers.

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Tigers Vs. Rangers Score: Detroit And Texas Headed To 10th Inning In 3-3 Tie

Nelson Cruz hit a home run off Max Scherzer to lead off the seventh inning, tying Game 2 of the ALCS between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers at 3-3.

The Tigers weren’t able to break the tie against the Rangers’ Alexi Ogando, a pitcher who owned them during the regular season (3-0 record, 1.29 ERA in three starts). But they had a chance to take the lead against lefty Mike Gonzalez in the ninth.

Rangers manager Ron Washington brought in Gonzalez to face Detroit’s Don Kelly after Ramon Santiago reached base on a bloop single. Kelly subsequently doubled down the right-field line. Then, in a decision that might end up being heavily scrutinized, third base coach Gene Lamont held Santiago up rather than sending him to possibly score.

With a base open, the Rangers had Neftali Feliz intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera to load the bases. Victor Martinez followed up by popping up to shallow center, ending the . (Replays showed, however, that Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus almost dropped the ball.)

In the bottom of the inning, the Rangers squandered an excellent chance for a walkoff win and 2-0 series lead. Adrian Beltre narrowly missed a home run on deep drive to left-center field, settling for a double after the ball hit the wall. Tigers closer Jose Valverde then put the next two hitters on base, intentionally walking Mike Napoli and hitting Nelson Cruz with a pitch.

However, despite having the bases loaded with no outs, the Rangers could not capitalize. David Murphy flied out to left field for the first out of the inning. Then Mitch Moreland grounded to first base, allowing Cabrera to turn a 3-2-3 double play and pull off an impressive escape from what looked like a sure loss.

The Tigers and Rangers head to extra innings in Arlington. Those hoping to switch over to the Lions’ Monday Night Football game versus the Bears have to endure some bonus baseball first.

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Tigers Vs. Rangers Score: Detroit Leads 3-2 After Six Innings

Following a shaky first inning in which he allowed two runs, Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer has settled down, allowing two hits over his last five innings.

Scherzer avoided a jam in the sixth, after Elvis Andrus walked and Josh Hamilton singled to lead off the inning. But the Tigers starter then retired the next three batters, getting Michael Young to fly out, striking out Adrian Beltre, and inducing a groundout from Mike Napoli.

For the game, Scherzer has allowed two runs and five runs. He’s struck out six Texas batters and walked only one. At 87 pitches (61 strikes), he probably has enough to pitch the seventh for the Tigers.

Detroit had Phil Coke and Ryan Perry warming up during the inning, however. (Brad Penny also warmed up, though it seemed unlikely that Leyland would use him to replace Scherzer.) Perhaps Scherzer will face Nelson Cruz to lead off the Rangers’ seventh, before giving way to Coke, who could face lefty batters David Murphy and Mitch Moreland.

Scott Feldman has pitched nicely for the Rangers, in relief of Derek Holland. After setting the Tigers down in order during the top of the seventh, he’s pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. He’s allowed only one hit with four strikeouts.

Delmon Young is now out of the game for Detroit, being replaced by Ryan Raburn, who moves over from right field. Don Kelly takes over in right for Raburn.

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Tigers Vs. Rangers Score: Ryan Raburn's 3-Run Homer Gives Detroit 3-2 Lead

Ryan Raburn’s three-run home run has given the Detroit Tigers a 3-2 lead over the Texas Rangers after three innings of play in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Until Raburn’s homer, the Tigers had squandered several scoring opportunities, letting Texas starter Derek Holland off the hook, despite early wildness high in the strike zone.

In the first inning, Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago both reached base, giving Detroit two runners on with no outs. But a popout by Delmon Young, followed by two consecutive groundouts by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, prevented the Tigers from capitalizing.

In the second, the Tigers had the bases loaded with two outs, due to three walks by Holland. But Santiago hit into a fielder’s choice, again wasting another chance to put runs on the board.

Detroit finally broke through in the third after a long double by Cabrera to right-center that wasn’t far from being a home run. Holland then hit Martinez with a pitch, though there was briefly some question as to whether it was a wild pitch that would’ve allowed Cabrera to score. A long discussion between the umpiring crew, followed by Jim Leyland arguing the call, may have rattled Holland even further.

After play resumed, Raburn hit a long fly ball into the left-field seats to give the Tigers the lead.

Holland then gave up a double to Jhonny Peralta, and was pulled from the game after getting Alex Avila to ground out. He threw 76 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, 45 of them strikes. He allowed four hits and four walks. Scott Feldman is now pitching for the Rangers.

Max Scherzer had a rough first inning for the Tigers, serving up two RBI doubles to Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. But he seems to have settled down, allowing just one hit in his last two innings.

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ALCS Game 2: Delmon Young In Tigers Lineup, Batting Third

UPDATE: MLive.com's Chris Iott is reporting that it will be game-time decision for Young to play or not. Jim Leyland said Andy Dirks will start in left field if Young can't go. No word on who would bat third, but Leyland made out two different lineups.

Any questions regarding how soon Delmon Young would return to the Detroit Tigers lineup were quickly answered by the team. Shortly after the Tigers announced that Young was being added to the ALCS roster to replace Magglio Ordonez, the starting lineups for Game 2 were released. Young is in his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order and will play in left field.

Young obviously feels like he can play and the Tigers believe he can make a contribution. But one reason for the hasty return might be Young’s record against Derek Holland, the Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher for Game 2. In 12 career at-bats against Holland, Young has six hits and two home runs.

Here are the starting lineups for Game 2:

Detroit Tigers
1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Ramon Santiago 2B
3. Delmon Young LF
4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Victor Martinez DH
6. Ryan Raburn RF
7. Jhonny Peralta SS
8. Alex Avila C
9. Brandon Inge 3B

Max Scherzer is Detroit’s starter on the mound.

Texas Rangers
1. Ian Kinsler 2B
2. Elvis Andrus SS
3. Josh Hamilton CF
4. Michael Young DH
5. Adrian Beltre 3B
6. Mike Napoli C
7. Nelson Cruz RF
8. David Murphy LF
9. Mitch Moreland 1B

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