Rangers got legs and know how to use them
Sixth-inning rally created by baserunning, small ball
DETROIT -- The first time the Rangers rallied in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday, there was no Nelson Cruz home run or anything even close -- just a few hits and some National League moves on the basepaths.
"I think we're definitely capable of stealing bases," said Ian Kinsler, who swiped 30 bags in the regular season. "We did it in the regular season and we're going to continue to do it, and we're going to continue to try to put pressure on the defense. That's a big part of our game."
Before the Rangers downed the Tigers, 7-3, in 11 innings, it took Texas until its third trip through the lineup to get going against Detroit's Rick Porcello.
The Tigers led, 2-0, when David Murphy dunked a single into left to give Texas its first leadoff baserunner of the night in the sixth. With one out, Kinsler slashed a double to the left-field corner, cutting Detroit's lead to 2-1 and putting Porcello in his tightest spot yet.
Elvis Andrus batted next, and Porcello might then have been caught in a moment of tunnel vision.
"I was just trying to time him out. He was pretty quick to the plate. The first three throws to the plate, he really wasn't paying attention to me," said Kinsler, who stole third base. "I think it was the 2-1 pitch, he kind of looked at me a little bit. And then it went 3-1, and I said, 'He's not paying attention to me now, he's trying to get the guy at the plate, he needs to throw a strike here,' so I figured I'd give it a shot."
On a bang-bang play, Kinsler beat catcher Alex Avila's throw, and Kinsler said he knew he was safe. Sixteen bases were stolen off Porcello in the regular season, tying him with Brad Penny for the most allowed by a Tigers pitcher.
Andrus singled into shallow right-center one pitch later, bringing Kinsler home to tie the game at 2.
This time, with Andrus on base -- the shortstop led the Rangers with 37 steals -- Porcello went the cautious route. But it backfired.
Repeated throws over to first base led to an error for Porcello, and Andrus scampered to second, where he scored without a problem on Michael Young's two-out RBI single to center, another shallow liner. That put Texas up, 3-2.
"I was ready to go, trying to get a good jump and getting a single," Andrus said. "He was rushing. ... He put too much attention on me, and it was a really lucky play that he threw it away."
Said Porcello: "The pickoff obviously allowed them to score the third run. It was a pretty costly error."
For Young, the single was his only hit in five trips, but it was a welcome sign for a hitter who came into the night hitting .111 on the postseason.
Through the slump, Young has maintained that his confidence is fine.
"No matter what the situation is, I feel like I'm going deliver every time I'm up there," Young said.