After a rain delay of over two hours (two hours and thirteen minutes to be exact), Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers were ready to get right down to business. Three batters up, three batters down was the song he was singing, thanks to Motown defensive skills, and the young ace’s strikeout of Elvis Andrus. I imagined him pushing a big red “easy” button as he walked off the field, but of course, it was too soon to make such judgements.
Alternatively, the Rangers were marching to a different beat in their first inning. Matt Harrison walked the first batter for the Tigers, Austin Jackson, when he threw four straight balls after he set up two strikes. Luckily, the Rangers had defensive backup in the infield to execute a double play before Harrison tossed his second walk, Miguel Cabrera.
Porcello pulled off his second strikeout to none other than Adrian Beltre, and finished off the top second inning with another K, his third of the night, to Rangers catcher Mike Napoli. Did you blink? You probably missed this inning.
The rain started to soak Porcello’s shoulders in the top of the third. Remember how the weatherman said we should have four hours of dry weather? That “dry window” they spoke of? Where did it go?
Porcello’s jersey might have been dampened by the rain, but his arm was certainly still on fire. The young guy tossed another strikeout. Then he went cold when he gave up a double to David Murphy, the first Texas runner of the evening. It was just a brief hiccup though, as Porcello threw his fifth strikeout to Yorvit Torrealba, and Ian Kinsler’s groundout the third inning continued the game with nothing but eggs on the scoreboard.
Detroit scored a run as Brandon Inge singled to right field. Ryan Raburn singled to second, and next Miguel Cabrera took his bat. And he whacked. Not quite a home run, but hey, he got two runners to score, and made it to second. The Tigers took the lead 2-0.
Delmon Young caught a rocket that Josh Hamilton shot back at the warning track, and Porcello, wait for it, struck out Michael Young for number six.
Mike Napoli hit a single to center in the top of the fifth, and the rain seemed to slow to a mist as Nelson Cruz grounded it right up the middle back to Porcello, then Porcello fired to shortstop, and short to first for a fantastic 1-6-3 double play to turn over the half.
Andrus proved he had some defensive tricks uo his sleeves as well, with his stellar infield catch on Austin Jackson’s liner. Then first baseman Michael Young caught Raburn in foul territory. The Rangers just wanted to let you know they had some good stuff too… In case you were distracted by the Tigers fancy antics.
The Rangers had their tying run ready to go at home plate , and Ian Kinsler hit a shot down the line that allowed David Murphy to race home, and put the Rangers on board for their first run of the night, 2-1. Then Kinsler stole third base with a great belly slide, and reached home on Andrus’ single. And so the game was tied 2-all.
The Rangers had not gotten enough. A dirt ball (error credited to Porcello) allowed Andrus to advance to second, and then he scored on a close play at home on Matt Young’s single. Young made it to second safely on the throw, and the Rangers took the lead for the first time of the evening, 3-2.
Alexi Ogando relieved Harrison in the bottom of the seventh and subsequently tossed a bag to Cabrera via four balls. With two outs recorded, Avila had the opportunity to save the day for Detroit, when he stepped up to the plate with Cabrera on base. But Avila flied out to left field. No dice for Detroit.
The Rangers would waste no time, and Al Alburquerque came to the mound, after Porcello gave up two hits in a row to David Murphy and Torrealba. But Alburquerque struggled on the rubber, and walked Kinsler to load up the bases. With two outs, Elvis Andrus approached the plate, and grounded out for some Detroit damage control.
With two outs, no balls, and two strikes, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Brandon Inge sent one over the wall to tie the game 3-all for a loud Tigers come back.
Joaquin Benoit walked to the mound and wiped sweat of his forehead as he started off the top of the 8th inning. And although I was never a fan of that chin hair, or the zit, Benoit did have the good stuff with him when he retired three batters to pitch the Tigers to safety as the teams headed into the bottom of the eighth.
Mike Adams provided little relief and security for the Rangers when he took over for Ogando in the bottom of the eighth. He intentionally walked Cabrera, then gave up a single to Victor Martinez that gave Cabrera passage to third base. Cabrera tagged up at third and ran home on Delmon Young’s flyout, but was out easily at the plate with Napoli’s strong block.
Napoli milked his at-bat in the top of the ninth and sent one far and wide- but just a hair too wide- to swing foul. I think every Detroitian had a moment of heart failure. Before Benoit struck out Murphy, he walked Nelson Cruz to put a runner on. Two outs, and Benoit, with the aid of Avila’s eye, caught Cruz stealing to second for the final out.
Darren Oliver replaced Adams, and Avila grounded out to shortstop, then Jhonny Peralta made a grounder to first, and Santiago flied out to center to end the ninth and send the game into extra innings.
Jose Valverde pitched a quick top of the tenth. He only faced three Texans and earned a strikeout on Torrealba.
Scott Feldman came in to pitch for Texas in the bottom of ten, and hit Austin Jackson with a pitch, but Jackson was thrown out by Napoli on an attempt to steal second.
Hamilton had his first hit in the top of the eleventh, a big juicy double with no outs. But Valverde got the best of Michael Young, then opted for the intentional walk for Beltre. Napoli showed up with two men on and one out. And Napoli worked Valverde for the RBI. But that was not enough for the Rangers, as Cruz homered to left field and Napoli and Beltre also scored to raise the Rangers to 7-3. Final score.
Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday, October 13th at 4:19pm ET on FOX.