On this date in franchise history, the Texas Rangers had to take the champagne off ice after Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
On Oct. 13, 2011, the Rangers had a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Detroit Tigers and were seeking a fourth win to clinch their second straight trip to the World Series.
But the Tigers had other ideas. Still at home at Comerica Park, the Tigers handed the ball to their ace, Justin Verlander, in a do-or-die game. The Tigers won, 7-5.
The Rangers grabbed the lead in the top of the first as Verlander gave up a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler, a bunt to Elvis Andrus and a sacrifice fly to Josh Hamilton, which scored Kinsler. The Tigers weren’t down long, as Alex Avila hit his first home run of the series in the third inning to tie the game. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Delmon Young hit the first of two homers in the game, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
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Verlander lasted into the eighth inning but had to throw 133 pitches to do it. He gave up another run to the Rangers in the fifth inning, walking Kinsler with one out. Kinsler eventually scored on a Hamilton hit. That tied the game at 2-2.
But, in the sixth inning, the Tigers finally blew it open and sent Rangers starter C.J. Wilson to his first loss of the series. The Tigers hit what they call a combined natural cycle to build a 6-2 lead: a single by Ryan Raburn, a double by Miguel Cabrera, a triple by Victor Martinez and a home run by Young, in that order.
Texas didn’t go away. But, by the time Nelson Cruz hit his fifth home run of the series to chase off Verlander, that only made the score 7-4. The Rangers added a run in the ninth on a Michael Young RBI single, but Phil Coke helped the Tigers escape the jam and send the series back to Arlington for Game 6.
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