In a game that started one day later than scheduled and lasted two innings longer than expected, Nelson Cruz saved the best for last, belting a grand slam in the bottom of the 11th inning, winning Game 2 of the ALCS by the score of 7-3, giving the Rangers a 2-0 series lead over the Tigers.
It was Cruz's second home run of the game and third in the series -- and as a reward, his teammates showered him with anything they could get their hands on in the clubhouse:
"It was crazy," Cruz said. "Baby powder, beer, shaving cream, water. They threw me into everything."
While the Tigers and Rangers were playing, Baseball Nation's writers were live blogging the game. Here's the highlights of their in-game analysis:
• Fans in Texas weren't happy with the decision to bump Game 2 from Sunday to Monday afternoon -- especially after the rain never came on Sunday.
• With Magglio Ordonez lost for the duration of the postseason with an ankle injury, Jim Leyland turned to Delmon Young -- even though Young was originally left off the postseason roster with a mild oblique strain. Jeff Sullivan isn't convinced that was the right move:
Let's not make too much of what this guy brings to the table. This season, he posted a .302 OBP. Over the past three seasons, he's posted a .316 OBP, and a 104 OPS+. He is some approximation of an average hitter, and when you include the fact that he's pretty poor in the field, the overall package - at 100 percent - is mediocre.
For two, he's hurt. Which means he isn't going to be Delmon Young at 100 percent. After Young got injured, Jim Leyland told the media that Young might be good for Game 4 or Game 5, maybe. Now he's been rushed back. Which means the Tigers should expect even less than what a healthy Young might provide.
For what it's worth, Young finished the game 0-for-4 while providing mediocre defense. Will he remain in the lineup the rest of the series? Stay tuned!
With one out, Elvis Andrus sent a flare into center for a base hit. That wasn't much on its own, but Josh Hamilton followed by sending a high Max Scherzer fastball deep into left-center field. Delmon Young tried to run it down, but Delmon Young is absolutely terrible in the field, so he didn't run it down, and the ball dropped. Andrus came around to score, and Young threw the ball back to the infield very gingerly, clearly protecting his injured oblique.
Holland got to a 1-2 count on Victor Martinez, and then threw a breaking ball down and inside. Martinez acted like the ball hit his pant leg, and trotted to first base. Meanwhile, the ball rolled to the backstop, and Miguel Cabrera took off from second, thinking that it was live. Cabrera got to third and, with Mike Napoli not really pursuing the ball, rounded third and slid into home without a throw.
Problem! The umpires all huddled to try and figure out what had happened, and they concluded that the ball hit Martinez. So they sent Martinez to first, and returned Cabrera to second. Jim Leyland wasn't a fan of this - Jim Leyland is a fan of runs - so he came out to argue, and his argument went on for a while. But in the end, it was fruitless, and the Tigers had no runs and two on.
And then Ryan Raburn made it all irrelevant when he followed with a homer.
• Holland got the quick hook after allowing Raburn's home run, at which point Scott Feldman came into the game and mopped up like a boss. Detroit mustered just one hit with four strikeouts in the 4 1/3 innings Feldman was in the game.
• Nelson Cruz tied the game -- but not before teasing fans with a long foul ball:
Nelson Cruz led off the bottom of the seventh and lofted a fly ball that was about 13,048 feet high, and 300 feet long. For a brief moment the crowd came to life before realizing it was well foul. It had the right sound, at least.
On the very next pitch, Cruz launched a ball that was about 13,047 feet high, about 400 feet long, and plenty fair. It banged off the fair pole for a homer that tied the game at 3-3.
Two innings later, Cruz struck again, ending the game with his grand slam. The two teams pick up the action tomorrow evening in Detroit, having lost their scheduled day off for travel thanks to MLB's faulty weathermen.