Tigers 5, Rangers 2
Colby Lewis came into Game 3 of the AL championship series as
the surest thing the Texas Rangers had on the mound.
And for three innings, he was.
Then, the Detroit Tigers began chipping away. And by the time
they were done, they had handed Lewis his first postseason defeat
and beaten Texas 5-2 Tuesday night to cut the Rangers’ edge to
”My job is to give us a chance to win,” Lewis said. ”I did
that until things got away a little in the sixth.”
The Tigers took the lead on a pitch manager Ron Washington
regrets Lewis throwing in the fifth.
Lewis gave Miguel Cabrera a 91 mph fastball to swing at on an
0-2 count and the AL batting champion pounced on it, hitting a
go-ahead double. Cabrera got to hit, rather than pitching around
him as planned with the hobbled Victor Martinez on deck.
”The ball was supposed to be out of the zone,” Washington
said. ”He didn’t put it there.”
Lewis, though, recalled what he was supposed to do
”I thought I could get (Cabrera) out,” Lewis said. ”I wasn’t
even thinking about a walk there.
”It was 0-2 and I threw a pitch that I thought was a
foot-and-a-half off the plate. Maybe it wasn’t, but it certainly
wasn’t over the plate. He just hit it. He’s a great hitter.”
Martinez had a strain on the right side of his ribs when he hit
a solo homer off Lewis in the fourth. The designated hitter stayed
in the game and drew a walk in the fifth.
The Tigers padded their lead and ended Lewis’ night in the
sixth. Jhonny Peralta homered on Lewis’ first pitch of the ninth
and No. 9 hitter Andy Dirks chased Lewis with a two-out single.
Koji Uehara replaced Lewis and gave up an RBI single to the
previously struggling Austin Jackson, giving the Tigers a 4-1
Lewis was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks
while striking out six.
”I thought I threw the ball well, but sometimes you just don’t
get the results you want,” he said.
The Texas right-hander hadn’t given up more than two runs in any
of his previous five postseason starts. He had a chance to join
Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitcher to allow no more
than two runs in his first six postseason starts that lasted at
least five innings.
Lewis entered the game 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in the postseason.
Josh Beckett, Andy Pettitte and Lewis are the only AL pitchers to
win four straight postseason starts since 2000.
Now, the Rangers will have to hope left-hander Matt Harrison
helps them stay ahead in the best-of-seven series when he pitches
against Detroit’s Rick Porcello in Game 4 Wednesday.
”We have nothing to worry about,” Rangers right fielder Nelson
Cruz said. ”We knew we were playing a good team, and they beat us.
We know how to deal with that. We’ll be fine.”
Texas hopes third baseman Adrian Beltre will be fine as
Beltre fouled a pitch off his left knee in the fourth and X-rays
showed it was just a bruise. He fell to the ground immediately but
was able to finish his at-bat after being checked on. He ended up
grounding out, jogging gingerly to first, but remained in the
”My own knee hurt again after that one,” teammate Elvis Andrus
said. ”I know how tough Adrian is, but those are really
Early on, it looked as if Lewis might join elite company in
baseball lore and help the Rangers win their sixth straight game
He retired the Tigers in order in the first by getting Jackson
out on a foul ball and striking out Ramon Santiago and Cabrera.
Lewis escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second by
striking out slumping Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn, and allowed one
hit the next inning while the Rangers held onto a one-run lead.
After that, the game began to slip away from Lewis and the
Rangers. Cabrera added a towering home run in the seventh.
Detroit dropped the first two games in Texas before turning to
Doug Fister, who won the decisive fifth game of the division series
at Yankee Stadium last week. He was sharp again, allowing two runs
and seven hits with no walks in 7 1-3 innings.
Jose Valverde, after pitching a season-high two innings the day
before, worked around a leadoff double in the ninth for his third
playoff save. He got some help from Cabrera, who made a diving play
at first base.
Detroit played without injured outfielders Delmon Young, Magglio
Ordonez and Brennan Boesch.
Fister’s first nine pitches were strikes, but the Rangers poked
three of them into the outfield for singles and took a 1-0 lead.
Ian Kinsler led off with a single to left, then Andrus chopped an
0-2 pitch into right for a base hit.
Josh Hamilton fell behind 0-2 as well before hitting a soft line
drive just past the outstretched arm of Peralta, the shortstop, for
an RBI single.
Fister escaped without further damage thanks to a double-play
grounder by Michael Young and a strikeout by Adrian Beltre.
”I think we’ve got great momentum, now this is our time,”
Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit said.
NOTES: Valverde has converted all 52 of his save chances this
year, including three in the postseason. … Fister was nearly hit
in the fourth when a piece of Mike Napoli’s broken bat sailed
toward the mound. Fister instinctively stuck out his glove, but the
bat missed him. … Hamilton lost control of his bat during a
sixth-inning swing, and it sailed into the front row behind the
Texas dugout. A male fan was shaken up after getting hit by the bat
but appeared to be OK. … Yorvit Torrealba started at catcher for
Texas so Napoli could have a bit of a breather as the DH. Torrealba
had three hits.