Rangers explode in third inning, jump way ahead of Tigers in ALCS Game 6

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Ramon Santiago, the Tigers’ No. 9 hitter, smacked a leadoff single to open the third inning, but center fielder Austin Jackson struck out for the 19th time this October and right fielder Ryan Raburn hit into his second double play of the night to end the threat.

In the bottom half of the third, perhaps sparked by Holland’s quick work on the mound, the Rangers’ bats came alive. With shortstop Elvis Andrus on base via a walk and outfielder Josh Hamilton aboard courtesy of a single, designated hitter Michael Young delivered a two-run double down the left field line, tying the game 2-2. Adrian Beltre poured on the third run of the frame with a well-struck single up the middle. Rangers 3, Tigers 2.

But the offensive explosion had only just begun.

To chants of “Nap-o-li,” the hot-hitting catcher (first name: Mike) then drew a walk. To chants of “Cruuuuuuz,” Nelson then did the same. The back-to-back base-on-balls drove Scherzer from the game after just 2 1/3 innings and forced Tigers manager Jim Leyland to turn prematurely to his ‘pen. It didn’t help much.

Making his first appearance of the ALCS, 25-year-old left-hander Daniel Schlereth, son of NFL analyst and former Super Bowl champ Mark Schlereth, yielded a two-run single to David Murphy. Rangers 5, Tigers 2.

ALCS Game 4 starter Rick Porcello came on in relief of Schlereth, but he couldn’t stop the bleeding due in large part to a blown call at second base. After allowing pinch-hitter Craig Gentry to reach via that missed out, Ian Kinsler laced a two-run bases-loaded single between the left side of the infield. Young then collected his second run-scoring hit and his third and fourth RBI of the third inning with a double down the right field line.

Texas has a 9-2 lead in this ALCS Game 6 as we move to the top of the fourth. They’ll advance to the World Series for the second time in as many years if the Tigers can’t mount a comeback. It’s party time in Arlington.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.