Rangers 15, Tigers 5
After waiting until their 50th season to reach their first World
Series, the Texas Rangers are going right back.
Nelson Cruz had one more big blast, Michael Young caught the
final out long after hitting a pair of doubles in one of the
highest-scoring postseason innings ever and the Rangers became the
American League’s first repeat champion in a decade.
The team that lost Cliff Lee in free agency and held onto Young
after his offseason trade request finished off the Detroit Tigers
with a 15-5 romp Saturday night to win the AL championship series
in six games.
”This is a great trophy, we’re real proud of it,” said Young,
who walked off the field with the AL championship trophy in his
hands. ”But we’re looking forward to the one with all the flags on
it. … Happy, but not satisfied.”
Cruz was selected ALCS MVP after his postseason-record sixth
home run of the series, and he also had a record 13 RBIs. Young hit
a pair of two-run doubles in a nine-run third inning that sent the
Rangers on their way to becoming the AL’s first consecutive pennant
winner since the New York Yankees won four in a row from
”We wanted to get to the World Series. But the bottom line is
getting to the World Series and winning it. We feel pretty
confident about ourselves,” manager Ron Washington said. ”More
than anything else, the commitment they made in November after San
Francisco sent us home, they held true to it.”
Texas will open the World Series on Wednesday night at St. Louis
or Milwaukee, seeking the first title in the history of a franchise
that started play in 1961. The World Series returns deep in the
heart of Texas with Game 3 next Saturday night.
Young, who also homered and had five RBIs in the finale, caught
Brandon Inge’s game-ending popout in short right field and pumped a
right hand into the air signaling ”No. 1” while fireworks and
confetti filled the sky, then ran toward the middle of the field to
celebrate with his teammates.
Cruz threw both hands in the air and briefly knelt to a knee in
the outfield before running to the infield for the ginger
ale-spraying celebration, and a banner was unfurled high over
center field declaring the Rangers 2011 AL champions. The postgame
celebration included Cruz getting the AL MVP trophy.
”It was fun to watch,” last year’s AL MVP Josh Hamilton said
of Cruz. ”It’s one thing to be in the stands. But when you’re down
here on the field with him, you can see the intensity, see the
focus. To watch him do that was incredible.”
Ginger ale on the field has become a part of all Rangers
celebrations in deference to Hamilton’s well-documented
substance-abuse problems. The slugger doesn’t participate in the
clubhouse frenzy filled with champagne and beer.
Nearly every player inside wore goggles as booze was sprayed
everywhere. Those same bottles and cans had been packed and brought
home from Detroit after the Rangers failed to end the series
With former President George W. Bush seated in the front row
alongside Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, part of the ownership
group that took over the team last year, Washington was at the edge
of the dugout wildly waving his arms and shouting encouragement as
the big inning unfolded.
All Tigers manager Jim Leyland could do was take off his cap and
scratch his head as the Rangers kept reaching base off starter Max
Scherzer and three relievers.
”He was out of whack for the most part all the way. His control
was not good from the get go, really. And he had a tough time. And
we just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Leyland said. ”As the game
went on, obviously, it really wasn’t fair.”
A franchise that began as the expansion Washington Senators and
moved to Texas in 1972 had failed to reach the World Series before
last year, when Texas lost to the Giants in five games. The Rangers
had never even won a postseason series before last season.
”As soon as the season began, we were hungry, we were hungry to
get back,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said.
Texas overcame a 2-0 deficit by sending 14 batters to the plate
against Scherzer (0-1) and three relievers in the highest-scoring
postseason inning since 2002.
Alexi Ogando (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his second
win in the series.
While Young became only the fourth player in postseason history
with two extra-base hits in the same inning – first a tying double
into the left-field corner and then one down the right field line
for a 9-2 lead – every batter in the Texas lineup reached base at
least once in the third. By the time all the fireworks was over,
the Rangers scored the most runs ever in a postseason game against
A series that started with a 3-2 Rangers victory, included two
11-inning wins by Texas and was extended by a Detroit rally sparked
by a likely double-play grounder ricocheting off third base, ended
with the highest-scoring playoff game since the Yankees routed
Boston 19-8 in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.
Also among the sellout crowd of 51,508 was Dirk Nowitzki, MVP of
the NBA finals won by the Dallas Mavericks in June.
Now the Rangers get another chance to bring another championship
to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In his 11th season in Texas, Young had played in 1,508
regular-season games before finally getting into the playoffs last
year. He added a huge exclamation point to his already big night
when he led off the seventh with a 416-foot homer to straightaway
His five RBIs matched the Rangers postseason record, set by Cruz
in Game 2 when he had the first game-ending grand slam ever in the
Last winter, Young had requested a trade after the Rangers
signed Adrian Beltre and acquired Mike Napoli, moves that led to
Young becoming primarily a designated hitter and first baseman, a
position he had never played. He had already been a starting second
baseman and an All-Star at shortstop and third base.
The Texas third was the highest-scoring inning in a postseason
game since the Angels matched a playoff record with 10 runs in the
seventh of Game 5 during the 2002 ALCS against Minnesota.
Scherzer was gone after Cruz fought back from an 0-2 count to
load the bases. By time the third Detroit reliever finally induced
Beltre into an inning-ending flyout with the Rangers up 9-2, fans
roared in anticipation while wildly waving white rally towels – and
one fan behind the home dugout swayed a Texas state flag back and
forth in the air.
Detroit had already avoided elimination twice this postseason,
winning Game 5 of the AL division series at Yankee Stadium and then
extending the ALCS with a 7-5 win at home Thursday. The Tigers,
seeking their first Series title since 1984, quickly jumped ahead
in Game 6 when Derek Holland allowed solo homers to Miguel Cabrera
in the first and Jhonny Peralta in the second.
”I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a team than I am of
this team,” Leyland said. ”They gave everything they had.”
NOTES: Holland, who didn’t make it out of the third inning in
Game 2, gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings. He left
after Austin Jackson’s two-run homer in the fifth. … Cabrera
added his second homer of the game, fourth of the postseason, in