Big League Stew - MLB

ALCS Game 5: Sixth inning goes Tigers way in 7-5 victory

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.

Head hanger: C.J. Wilson(notes) struggled again for the Rangers, allowing six runs and nine hits after coming in with a 7.45 ERA and a 1.002 opponents' OPS during the playoffs.

[Support your team: Get playoffs jerseys | Buy postseason tickets]

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.

What's next: Game 6 at Rangers Ballpark, with Derek Holland(notes) trying to secure the Rangers' second straight World Series appearance.

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave and engage the Stew on Facebook throughout the playoffs

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
In time of need, Michael Jordan silent in NBA labor talks
Video: Upset alert for an unbeaten college football team
Time to go: 14 NFL players who should be dealt

Related Articles

Big League Stew

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog