During the first four games of the ALCS, one of the Detroit Tigers' biggest problems was their inability to score in key points in the game. That is why they dropped Games 2 and 4 in extra innings, and it looked like Game 5 on Thursday might be headed down a similar path with the Tigers and Rangers tied 2-2 in the sixth inning.
The Tigers' outlook in Game 5 completely changed in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a lucky bounce. With Ryan Raburn on first after a lead-off single, Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder toward third base. It seemed like a double-play ball, but instead of going to Adrian Beltre, it clipped third base and went over his head. Raburn scored and Cabrera had himself a double. The Rangers looked stunned, even more so after Victor Martinez hit a triple and Delmon Young hit his second home run of the night.
After hitting the first natural cycle in postseason history, the Tigers took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning. Raburn extended the lead by a run with a home run in the seventh. It was the Tigers' fourth homer of the game, as Alex Avila had a solo shot in the third to tie the score at one and Young had a solo shot in the fourth to go along with his two-run homer in the sixth.
Although the game appeared to be in hand for the Tigers, the Rangers made things interesting. On Justin Verlander's 133rd and final pitch of the night, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run home run to left field to make it a three-run game. Phil Coke came in and quickly got the final outs of the eighth inning, and he quickly got the first two outs of the ninth inning. He ran into trouble when Josh Hamilton doubled to center field and Michael Young singled him in. Coke then walked Beltre, putting the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate. Luckily, Coke got Mike Napoli to ground out to second base in the next at-bat for the third out to seal the Tigers' 7-5 victory.
The Tigers now trail the Rangers in the ALCS by a 3-2 deficit. The series will shift back to Texas for Game 6 on Saturday. If the Tigers win, Game 7 will be played on Sunday to determine which team will represent the AL in the World Series.