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ALCS Game 4

October 13, 2011 by staff 

ALCS Game 4ALCS Game 4, Thanks largely to the arm of Nelson Cruz and his bat, the Rangers beat the Tigers 7-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS, taking a commanding series lead. Where to begin?

With the final on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, a three-run homer by Nelson Cruz capped a four-run that gave the Rangers a 7-3 victory and a large advantage 3-1 in the series.

It was not until the end of the two teams seemed to have a real control of the proceedings. In the fourth, Miguel Cabrera’s two-run double gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead, but Rick Porcello pitching for Detroit, two runs do not seem just a safety advantage.

In retrospect, anyway. For with the score still 2-0 in the sixth inning, the Rangers Porcello grouped together four hits to go ahead 3-2. And while Texas starter Matt Harrison had set its past, relief aid has been so good lately that even a one-run semi-seemed safe.

Semi.

Alexi Ogando is very difficult to right-handed hitters. In regular season action, which concluded with a .201 batting average and five homers in 354 at-bats.

Brandon Inge has never been so much against right-handers. In his long career, has a .223 batting average against righties, but with some power. Oh, and spent most of Inge August this year in the minors, and played little for the big club in September.

None of which seemed to have much importance in the bottom of the seventh inning, after Inge drove a high 90 Ogando heaters beyond the left field wall to turn a deficit into a tie race.

The top of the eighth inning was uneventful.

The bottom of the eighth inning was memorable.

Mike Adams, the Rangers eighth man, came to pitch and retired leadoff hitter Ryan Raburn in good condition. That led to Miguel Cabrera. He is really scary, of course, but there was nobody on base and Adams is very difficult to right-handed hitters and how much damage can be done Cabrera, anyway?

Plenty, in the mind of Ron Washington. It is quite possible that you have never seen a manager for an intentional walk to anyone on base. Unless you were watching Game 4 of the 2011 American League Championship Series, in which case, that’s exactly what you saw in the bottom of the eighth.

Cabrera was based, the education of Victor Martinez. That is a switch hitter, but perhaps with injury switch-hitter, which is perhaps why Washington was not worried about him.

Except once took Martinez on the right side of the box and barrel Cabrera at third base. Drive running, just 90 meters away, and Washington was about to become manager of second-guessing most of the year.

Then Nelson Cruz saved him. Nelson Cruz throws very, very well. Delmon Young fought some good shots of Adams, ultimately hitting a fly ball to right field deep enough. Cruz met at the start, and then unleashed a shot absolutely perfect home, the ball comes after a stretch in the glove of Mike Napoli, who was fully prepared to label the onslaught of Cabrera, by nine feet.

And thus ended the eighth, eventfully.

The ninth was only moderately busy. The top of the ninth inning ended when Cruz, who had walked, took off from second base and was easily thrown by the pitcher. The bottom of the ninth ended when Santiago Ram?n six straight foul Darren Oliver pitches before finally lifting offers 12 Oliver for a fly ball easy.

Management in the house, Jim Leyland went to his closer in the top 10, and Jose Valverde retired the Rangers in order. Management in the road, Washington left his bullpen closer in at 10, and instead went to Scott Feldman. Austin Jackson walked quickly, which was deleted before trying to steal second parity Mike Napoli perfect .*

* Somewhere, Mike Scioscia was shaking his head, muttering to himself.

Again, all went well with Ron Washington.

Valverde came back out for 11, and Josh Hamilton’s first release was a hanging splitter Hamilton lined out to right field for a double.

Michael Young could have played Hamilton to third, but instead struck out swinging. Leyland could have ordered Valverde pitch to Adrian Beltre, but instead ordered the intentional base, presumably to set the playback input-double play.

Mike Napoli made a hash of that plan with a soft single to center that plated Hamilton’s career lead. Cruz and destroyed with his three-run blast.

Happy at last appeared in the bottom of 11, and sent the Tigers in order. And at the heart of Texas, a lot of baseball fans are making plans for the World Series.

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