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Cruz' Boomstick Returns in Walk-Off Win

The Dutchstache was not mighty today.  Perhaps  Derek Holland partied a little too hard yesterday.  Perhaps the extra day of rest threw him off.  Whatever it was, he was not sharp.  At all.  And Eric Nadel even said Holland was perhaps a bit stubborn --- his fastball wasn't working, yet that's all he was throwing. 

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st courtesy of RBI doubles by Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre, but Holland coughed it up in the 3rd.  He did it on a double, a controversial hit by pitch and then a three-run Ryan Raburn home run.  Honestly, Holland is lucky that's all the Tigers got from him.  He walked four and gave up four hits during his 2.2 innings.  Pretty sad.

Thank goodness for Scott Feldman and his Amish-like beard.  It was exactly what the Rangers needed to stay in the game.  He took over for Holland and struck out four batters in 4.1 innings of work, allowing just one baserunner.  That's exactly what we needed.  And this was no easy feat, considering the inconsistent strike zone by the home plate ump. 

Nelson Cruz also delivered exactly what the team needed -- a 7th inning no doubter home run to left field.  It was a thing of beauty.  It was his second hit of the day, proving his timing really is back.  Of course, his biggest hit was still to come.

Alexi Ogando picked up where Feldman left off -- 1.2 scoreless innings -- until Ron Washington brought in Mike Gonzalez to face the lefty Don Kelly.  The Tigers right fielder greeted Gonzalez with a shot to the right field corner.  And Gonzalez was done.  Neftali Feliz was summoned with two on and two outs.  He gave a free pass to Miguel Cabrera, which made absolutely no sense.  I mean, I get intentionally walking Cabrera, but why not let Gonzalez throw those four pitches and then go get Feliz?  Thank goodness Victor Martinez popped out, leaving three Tigers on base.

This game made me really angry.  Yes, the umpire's zone sucked, but the Rangers squandered a lot of chances.  Not just in the 9th either.  They wasted lead-off walks by Elvis Andrus in the 6th and 8th, and a lead-off double by Cruz in the 4th.

The Rangers looked like they were destined for walk-off magic when Beltre doubled, Mike Napoli walked and Cruz was nailed by a pitch (not just hit) to load the bases with no outs.  David Murphy hit a fly ball to left, but it wasn't deep enough for Beltre to tag up and score  -- and why Craig Gentry wasn't pinch running for Beltre, I'll never know.  Mitch Moreland and his three strikeouts came to the plate.  He got the count to 2-2 and then grounded into a double play (home and first) to end the inning and the threat.  Pathetic.  Absolutely pathetic. 

They got another chance to right this wrong in the 11th.  Michael Young got his first hit of the postseason to lead-off the inning.  Beltre followed with a single, and then Napoli blooped a single between two outfielders.  Bases loaded, no outs.  Where have we seen this before?  Cruz hadn't.  Walk-off grand slam.  That says it all.

Celebration!!!  Anger gone ... well, most of it.


KISS:  Nelson Cruz.  3 for 4.  Two home runs, including the most crucial one -- a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning. 

MISS:  Dutch.  I had such high hopes.  Such a disappointment.


FINAL SCORE (11 innings)

Tigers :: 3 R, 8 H, 13 TLOB

Rangers :: 7 R, 11 H, 1 E, 6 TLOB


Tuesday's match-up

@ DET, 6:30 p.m. CST

Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (11-13, 2.83 ERA)


Rangers lead the series 2-0.  Worst case scenario, the series comes back to Arlington on Saturday.  Best case scenario, the Rangers finish this thing by Thursday and enjoy a weekend off.  (The friends who are coming into town to visit me this weekend would probably appreciate this too.  They don't really care for baseball, and I'm not sure they're prepared to deal with me in a game 6 situation.)


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