Tigers vs. Rangers: A Tale Of Two Grounders

Ground balls to third base.

Usually, that means a ground ball to the third baseman.

Top of the sixth inning, the Rangers loaded the bases with just one out. Justin Verlander had thrown a lot of pitches already, and didn't seem sharp. You had to figure he was just one line drive away from giving the Rangers the lead and getting knocked out of the game.

Instead, Ian Kinsler hit a ground ball toward third base, where third baseman Brandon Inge snagged the ball, touched the base, and fired across the diamond for the inning-ending, rally-killing, and (perhaps) game-saving double play.

Bottom of the sixth inning, game still tied 2-2, the Tigers got their leadoff man aboard. Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball toward third base, which was good for the Rangers because Adrian Beltre guards third base like a hungry cur guards a lamb chop, and Beltre was already salivating, thinking about the double play he was about to turn.

Except this ground ball wasn't just toward third base; it skipped off the front corner of the actual base and bounced well over Beltre's head for a double.

Which opened the gates. Victor Martinez drove a liner down the right-field line, and wound up on third base when Nelson Cruz dove and missed. That made it 4-2. And then of course Delmon Young hit a home run, because all Delmon Young does in October is hit home runs. That made it Tigers 6, Rangers 2. Which is where stayed, because Wilson remained in the game and, after a walk, struck out Alex Avila and retired Ramon Santiago.

All those questions about the Tigers' bullpen? Now they seem mostly moot. And all because of a couple of ground balls toward third base. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson might have cost himself a fair amount of money this afternoon.

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