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Rangers Rally In Extras Behind Napoli, Cruz

Tonight's game felt like three different games.  The early portion felt hopeless.  The middle portion felt victorious.  And the end was a nailbiter.  At least it ended happily.

The Rangers bats were dead out of the gate again tonight.  David Murphy had the first hit, a double, in the 3rd, but he was stranded there.  Mike Napoli shot a single through two innings later, but was erased on a double play ball hit by Nelson Cruz.  It seemed like they were never going to score. 

And then ... the 6th inning happened.  Murphy started it with his second hit of the night.  Ian Kinsler hit a one-out double to bring Murphy home and then stole third.  Elvis Andrus singled to bring Kinsler home and advanced to second when Rick Porcello tried to pick him off and threw it into the camera well instead. Then Michael Young (who has a huge monkey on his back this postseason) doubled in Andrus --- there could not have been a better time for Young to come through.  The Rangers took the lead on his RBI.

Matt Harrison nearly earned a quality start tonight, but it didn't look good in the beginning.  He needed a lot of pitches to get through the first few innings.  He escaped unscathed in the 1st and 2nd, but then gave up a two-run double to Miguel Cabrera in the 3rd.  Those were the only two runs he surrendered though, and he made it through five frames before handing the ball over to the bullpen.  Alexi Ogando was sharp in his first inning of work, but then he gave up a game-tying home run to Brandon Inge with two outs in the 7th. 

The Tigers tried to do some more damage in the 8th when Ron Washington chose to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera.  I still think it was the right move, even though it became a very perilous one as Cabrera advanced to third on a Victor Martinez single.  Runners were at the corners with just one out.  Delmon Young hit a flyball to right field.  Cruz settled under it and immediately fired a strike to Napoli at home to tag Cabrera out ... by a mile.

This ALCS has been nothing if not dramatic, so why not go for extra innings?  And why not have some more Cruz heroics?  After spectacular innings of pitching by Darren Oliver (yes!) and Scott Feldman, the Rangers got some offense going in the top of the 11th. Hamilton hit a lead-off double and then Beltre was issued an intentional walk with one out.  Napoli stepped in and hit a single to center.  Hamilton scored, and the Rangers took the lead, but Cruz wanted more.  He hit a three-run shot into the bullpen. 

That was it.  Neftali Feliz got three effortless outs.


Hello win column.

Scott Feldman gets the win -- appropriate.


KISS:  Napoli and Cruz can share it tonight.  The two of them turned this game around with their arms and their bats.  Napoli threw out Austin Jackson in the 10th and then hit that go ahead RBI in the 11th.  Cruz gunned down Cabrera at the plate and then put the nail in the coffin with that three-run home run.

MISS: I don't even feel like giving one tonight.


FINAL SCORE (11 innings)

Rangers ::  7 R, 11 H, 5 TLOB

Tigers :: 3 R, 5 H, 1 E, 5 TLOB


Thursday's game

@ DET, 3:19 p.m. CST

C.J. Wilson vs. Justin Verlander


Rangers lead the series 3-1.  Enough said.


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