On Cruz controlNelson Cruz made a rocket throw to keep the score tied, then hit a crushing three-run homer in the 11th inning off Jose Valverde that helped send the Texas Rangers over the Detroit Tigers 7-3 Wednesday night for a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.
DETROIT (AP) — Nelson Cruz made a rocket throw to keep the score tied, then hit a crushing three-run homer in the 11th inning off Jose Valverde that helped send the Texas Rangers over the Detroit Tigers 7-3 Wednesday night for a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.
Cruz, whose grand slam in the 11th inning won Game 2, once again starred for the Rangers in a game delayed at the start for more than two hours by rain.
With Detroit runners at the corners in the eighth and the score 3-all, Cruz caught Delmon Young’s fly ball to right field and made a strong peg to catcher Mike Napoli to nail Miguel Cabrera.
Napoli blooped a go-ahead single in the 11th and Cruz soon added his fourth home run of the ALCS. Cruz became the first player in major league history to hit a pair of extra-inning homers in the same postseason series.
Texas tries for its second consecutive AL pennant on Thursday, sending C.J. Wilson to the mound to face Detroit ace Justin Verlander.
The ALCS has marked quite a turnaround for Cruz. After going just 1 for 15 in the first-round playoff win over Tampa Bay, he’s 5 for 14 with 9 RBIs in only four games against the Tigers — and seven of those RBIs have come in the 11th inning alone.
Brandon Inge hit a solo home run in the Detroit seventh that tied it. The Tigers wasted a terrific chance an inning later following some risky Texas strategy.
With one out and nobody on, the Rangers intentionally walked Cabrera, practically daring the rest of the struggling Detroit lineup to beat them. The AL batting champion hit a two-run double earlier in the game, in fact.
Victor Martinez, who hurt his ribcage on a home run swing in Game 3, followed with a single to right and Cabrera lumbered around to third.
Young, another Tigers starter who has been banged up lately, managed to lift the ball to medium right. Cruz caught it and made a perfect, one-hop throw to the plate that beat Cabrera by several feet.