Rangers Celebrate at Home Plate - Photo Courtesy of Stacy Smith

Nelson Cruz Walk-Off Homer Sends Rangers to Detroit With 2-0 Lead in 2011 ALCS

I was fortunate enough to be at the game last night thanks to free tickets, courtesy of Chevrolet. Derek Holland had trouble early on in the game and it had me worried. He wasn’t able to execute his pitches correctly and he even had the bases loaded, but thankfully, was able to get himself out of trouble.

After Holland’s trouble on the mound, there was a call to the bullpen for Scott Feldman, who came in and was exceptional. After Feldman, Alexi Ogando came in and did plenty of his own magic up to almost the end of the ninth inning.

Ninth Inning Play

In the ninth inning with two outs, a runner at first, and lefty Tigers’ Kelly up to bat, Ron Washington decided to go ahead and pull Ogando and bring in left-handed relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez. Unfortunately, the move was a terrible one because Kelly sent a double into right field. That was it for Gonzalez. Neftali Feliz then came in, intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera loading the bases and almost lost the game; however, Victor Martinez send a ball out to center that Elvis Andrus danced around with a bit, but did catch.

The game could have ended in the ninth inning with the bases loaded after the Tigers had intentionally walked Mike Napoli, but David Murphy and Mitch Moreland couldn’t get the job done.

How the Game Concluded

It wasn’t Nefty that stayed in to pitch to the final inning of the game and instead was replaced by Mike Adams, who did a great job handling his pitches despite a few bad calls from the ump…which was something that seemed to happen a lot throughout the entire night. Regardless, Adams was able to pull through and get all three outs in the top of the 11th inning, handing it over to the offense to get the job done.

Michael Young finally ended his hitting slump by getting in a single at the start of the 11th inning Monday night. Adrian Beltre came in with a hit, and then with the crowed yelling, “Nap-o-li! Nap-o-li!” the Napster followed with a hit into the outfield that grazed off Don Kelly‘s.

Bottom of the 11th inning, bases loaded, no outs, Nelson Cruz at the plate and David Murphy on deck. I knew Cruz had it in him as he had been getting his swing back as of late, but I was still worried. The Rangers needed just one run to end and win the game, which would give Texas a huge advantage before going on the road. Nelson Cruz hit one into the stands – a hit that looked like it was a homer, but ended up being foul. He didn’t let that discourage him, however. Cruz ended up hitting a walk-off Grand Slam to end the game 7-3.

If you’d like to read more about the details of the game, which also included an earlier home-run from Nelly Cruz, check it out at ESPN.

Thanks to Cruz’s awesome blast, the Rangers head to Detroit for Game 3 of the ALCS against the Tigers with a 2-0 lead in the series. If they keep this momentum up, there’s no way the Tigers will take them and it will be the Rangers making their way to the 2011 World Series once again, for the second consecutive win. The difference this year will be that the Texas Rangers will take the win!

Colby Lewis takes the mound tonight at Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers. Mitch Moreland is set to get a day off. Michael Young will play at first, Mike Napoli will DH and Yorvit Torrealba will be catching. It’s ag ame you want to miss – starts at 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX.

Tags: 2011 ALCS ALCS ALCS Game 2 Alexi Ogando Derek Holland Elvis Andrus Mike Adams Mike Gonzalez Mike Napoli Neftali Feliz Nelson Cruz Rangers Texas Rangers Tigers At Rangers

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