October 13, 2011
Score and situation: With their season hanging in the balance, the Detroit Tigers used a big sixth inning to beat the Texas Rangers 7-5 in Game 5 of the ALCS. Right-hander Justin Verlander(notes) benefited from a 5-3 double play after the Rangers had loaded the bases in the top of the sixth, and Miguel Cabrera(notes) lined a double off the third-base bag to key Detroit's four-run rally in the bottom half.
Leading lads: After coming in without a hit in the series, Delmon Young(notes) slugged two home runs, including a two-run shot to give Detroit insurance in its big sixth inning. Verlander, though he wasn't dominant by any means, threw 133 pitches over seven innings to get the Tigers through a game in which relievers Joaquin Benoit(notes) and Jose Valverde(notes) were unavailable. Nelson Cruz(notes) continued an amazing postseason with another home run — a two-run shot against Verlander in the seventh on his 133rd pitch, which registered at 100 mph.
Key play: The Tigers' season was on the ropes in the sixth. Mitch Moreland(notes) had walked on four pitches to load the bases — though Verlander obviously was being careful. But Ian Kinsler(notes) swung at the next pitch, grounding on one hop to third baseman Brandon Inge(notes), who stepped on the bag and threw to first for a double play, giving the Tigers life. They scored four runs in the next half-inning, becoming the first team to hit a natural cycle — single (Ryan Raburn(notes)), double (Cabrera), triple (Victor Martinez(notes)), home run (Young) consecutively — in postseason history.
What they'll be talking about: Though Benoit and Valverde probably will be available, the Tigers are going to need a similar starting effort from Max Scherzer(notes) in order to even the series at Texas when it resumes Saturday night.
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