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Seldom has the cliche about baseball being a "game of inches" ever been more appropriate than during Game 5 of the ALCS.

With the Detroit Tigers needing any kind of break in order to extend their season, they got a lucky bounce in the sixth inning Thursday when slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) hit a grounder that nicked the third-base bag and bounced up and over the head of Texas Rangers infielder Adrian Beltre(notes).

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The ball rolled into left field for a double, allowing Ryan Raburn(notes) to score the go-ahead run in a critical inning for the Tigers, who went on to win 7-5 and force Game 6 of the series Saturday night.

"Yeah, I've seen it happen before," Cabrera said of the ball hitting the bag, "but it really helped us this time."

If the ball doesn't hit the bag, it was likely that Beltre would have started a 5-4-3 double play to short-circuit Detroit's rally and change the complexion of the rest of the game, and possibly the series.

Instead, the unusual hit sparked a four-run surge for the Tigers, who in the inning completed the first natural cycle — a single, double, triple and home run in order — in postseason history. Victor Martinez(notes) followed Cabrera by lining an RBI triple and Delmon Young(notes) added a two-run homer — his second home run of the game — to give the Tigers a sudden 6-2 lead against C.J. Wilson(notes) and the Rangers.

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