Detroit Tigers Force Game 6 in ALCS With Win
We had our ace, Justin Verlander on the mound for a “win or go home” game 5 in the best of 7 American League Championship Series against Texas. The Rangers quieted the crowd with a run in the top of the first inning, and this looked like it might end badly. The Tigers would have none of that today, as Alex Avila finally got hold of one and hit a solo homer in the 3rd to tie the game at 1-1. Delmon Young connected in the 4th to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Justin Verlander held the slugging Rangers off the board while the Tiger hitters went to work. The sixth inning the Tigers made postseason history as the only team to hit for a “natural cycle”. Ryan Raburn led off with a single and scored when Miguel Cabrera hit a double that took a funny hop off third base and trickled into the left field corner. Victor Martinez, the slowest runner in baseball then hit a slicing drive past a diving Nelson Cruz in right. V-Mart legged out a triple and Cabrera scored to make it 4-2. Delmon Young was up next and hit the first pitch deep into the left field seats to make it 6-2 Tigers and complete the cycle in that inning. Ryan Raburn would also homer in the 7th to make it 7-2, which would usually be a comfortable lead. The Texas Rangers got a man on base in the 8th against Verlander and Nelson Cruz turned around a 100 mph fastball and hit it off the foul pole in left to make it 7-4. Cruz has hit 5 homers in the ALCS, we might want to think about pitching around him. Verlander left the game after that, and Phil Coke came in to put out the fire. He retired the Rangers in the 8th, but ran into some resistance in the 9th as Josh Hamilton delayed the Tiger celebration with a two-out double. Hamilton would come around to score on a base hit by Michael Young and it was 7-5. Adrian Beltre reached on a walk and suddenly the potential lead run was in the batter’s box in the form of Mike Napoli. Coke got Napoli to hit a weak grounder to Santiago at 2nd who flipped it to Peralta to force out Beltre for the last out of the game. Tigers win 7-5 and trail in the best of seven ALCS 3 games to 2.
Game six is Saturday night at 8 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Max Scherzer will start for the Tigers vs the Rangers Derek Holland. The Tigers need to win that one to force a game 7 on Sunday in Texas. The odds are against us, but Detroit came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the 1968 World Series. It’s been done before, it can be done again. Go Tigers!