by Frank Martin
The Rangers took a 3-1 lead in the AL Championship Series with a 7-3, 11-inning victory on Wednesday and Detroit sends ace Justin Verlander to the mound in the do-or-die contest. Nelson Cruz capped a four-run 11th inning uprising in Game 4 to become the first player in postseason history to hit two extra-inning homers in the same postseason series. Fourteen of the previous 18 teams to build a 3-1 lead in the ALCS have won the series.
Wilson pitched 4 2/3 innings in Saturday's opening game of the series and gave up two runs and six hits. He returned after the first rain delay in the fifth inning but didn't return after the second. The Game 1 outing was only Wilson's second career start against Detroit.
Verlander pitched just four innings in Game 1 due to the rain delays. He took the loss and allowed three runs and five hits. Verlander is 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA in nine career regular-season starts against Texas. Cruz homered against Verlander in Game 1 after entering the contest with just one career hit against the probable Cy Young Award winner.
Closer Jose Valverde was racked for the four 11th-inning runs and has a 7.36 ERA in six postseason appearances. He is 52-for-52 in save opportunities, counting three postseason saves. Miguel Cabrera had a two-run double and is batting .357 in the series. Brandon Inge homered in Game 4 after hitting just three in the regular season. Victor Martinez played despite a strained intercostal muscle.
Cruz has four homers and nine RBIs in the series but also made an impact with his arm in Game 4 by throwing out Cabrera at the plate in the eighth inning. Mike Napoli had the go-ahead single in the 11th prior to Cruz's homer. Michael Young had a run-scoring single for his first RBI of the postseason. Young is hitting just .118 in the ALCS. David Murphy had three hits. Adrian Beltre played despite a gimpy knee after fouling a ball of it in Tuesday's game.
Texas manager Ron Washington elected to intentionally walk Cabrera with one out and nobody on in the eighth, the inning in which Cruz gunned Cabrera out at the plate.
adrian beltre - brandon inge - c.j. wilson - comerica park - cy young - david murphy - detroit tigers - jose valverde - justin verlander - michael young