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.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.