Game 6 of the ALCS started out promisingly for the Detroit Tigers, with home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta giving the team a 2-0 lead over the Texas Rangers after the first two innings of play.
But it all fell apart in an explosive way for the Tigers and Max Scherzer in the bottom half of the third inning. After getting Ian Kinsler to ground out to begin the inning, the next six Texas batters reached base. Michael Young drove in two runs with a double and Adrian Beltre followed up with a RBI single up the middle to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.
However, it didn’t stop there. Scherzer walked the next two batters — giving him three for the inning — to load the bases and was pulled from the game. But Daniel Schlereth could not put out the fire. Brought in to face the left-handed David Murphy, Schlereth promptly gave up a single to left field that scored two more runs. 5-2, Rangers.
Still, it did not stop. Schlereth was replaced by Rick Porcello, who Jim Leyland said would likely be used in relief, if needed. Porcello then served up another single to left — this one by Ian Kinsler — that drove in yet two more runs. Elvis Andrus followed up by grounding into a fielder’s choice, after which Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked to bring Young back to the plate.
Remember when Young was struggling in this series, prompting many writers (such as this one) to say that Rangers manager Ron Washington to take him out of the cleanup spot in the batting order? He’s not struggling anymore. Young doubled to right field to drive in another two runs and chase Porcello from the game. 9-2, Rangers.
Ryan Perry took over for Porcello and finally — mercifully — ended the third inning by getting Beltre to fly out to left field.
Nine runs. Six hits. Four walks (one intentional). One error (on Delmon Young, who had trouble fielding Kinsler’s single).
That explosion may very well have ended the Tigers’ 2011 season and clinched a return trip to the World Series for the Rangers. Getting 2 1/3 innings from Scherzer and burning through four pitchers after three frames was not the formula you would’ve drawn up for a Tigers victory.
Never mind that Detroit has to score seven runs to tie the game. They’ve scored five or more runs in four of the Tigers’ 11 games this postseason. If they can pull off a comeback from this, this really is a team of destiny. Right now, however, the immediate future looks rather bleak.