Nelson Cruz #17 and the Texas Rangers celebrates after winning Game Six of the American League Championship Series 15-5 against the Detroit Tigers to advance to the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.
The Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series for the second straight year. The Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers 15-5 Saturday night to win the American League Championship Series in six games.
Nelson Cruz get one more big blast, Michael Young caught the final out long after hitting a pair of doubles in one of the highest-scoring postseason innings ever and the Rangers became the American League's first repeat champion in a decade.
With former President George W. Bush seated in the front row alongside Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, part of the ownership group that took over the team last year, Washington was at the edge of the dugout wildly waving his arms and shouting encouragement as the big inning unfolded.
Texas overcame a 2-0 deficit by sending 14 batters to the plate against starter Max Scherzer (0-1) and three relievers in the highest-scoring postseason inning since 2002. All Tigers manager Jim Leyland could do was take off his cap and scratch his head.
Elvis Andrus walked on four pitches and Josh Hamilton hit a flare that fell in front of a hard-charging Delmon Young in left field. Andrus and Hamilton scored when Michael Young ripped a double into the left-field corner, then Adrian Beltre drove in Young with the go-ahead run on a hard grounder up the middle.
Scherzer walked Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz to load the bases. Leyland thought Cruz should've been rung up when he checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch.
When Scherzer lost Cruz, Leyland replaced him with Daniel Schlereth for a lefty-lefty matchup with David Murphy.
It didn't work. Murphy nailed a line drive to center field to make it 5-2.
Rick Porcello took the mound next and got pinch-hitter Craig Gentry to hit a grounder that second baseman Ramon Santiago fielded going to his right. With the speedy Gentry headed to first before Porcello could get there, Santiago threw to shortstop Jhonny Peralta covering second to try getting Murphy. The ball and runner arrived at the same time; Murphy was called safe and Leyland came out to argue.
"I looked at it a couple of times, I really can't tell to this point," Leyland said. "It was so close."
With the bases loaded again, Kinsler singled to left, driving in two more making it 7-2. That also made it nine straight Rangers who got on base.
The Tigers finally got the second out of the inning when Andrus hit a grounder to Peralta, and he threw home to nip Gentry -- albeit after a rundown that allowed the Rangers to still have guys on second and third. Hamilton was intentionally walked to load the bases and Young doubled again, down the right-field line this time, driving in two more runs that boosted the margin to 9-2.
Ryan Perry replaced Porcello and got Beltre to fly out to left field to finally end the rally, but not before every batter in the Texas lineup reached base at least once in the third.
Young became the fourth player ever to have a pair of extra-base hits in the same inning of a postseason game, the first to do so in an LCS game. His five RBIs matched the Rangers postseason record, set by Cruz in Game 2.
He added a huge exclamation point to his already big night when he led off the seventh with a 416-foot homer to straightaway center.
By the time all the fireworks was over, the Rangers scored the most runs ever in a postseason game against the Tigers and the most in any postseason contest since the Yankees routed Boston 19-8 in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.
Alexi Ogando (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his second win in the series.
Young caught Brandon Inge's game-ending popout in short right field and pumped a right hand into the air signaling "No. 1" while fireworks and confetti filled the sky, then ran toward the middle of the field to celebrate with his teammates.
Cruz threw both hands in the air and briefly knelt to a knee in the outfield before running to the infield as a banner was unfurled high over center field declaring the Rangers 2011 AL champions. The postgame celebration included Cruz getting the AL MVP trophy.
"It was fun to watch," last year's AL MVP Josh Hamilton said of Cruz. "It's one thing to be in the stands. But when you're down here on the field with him, you can see the intensity, see the focus. To watch him do that was incredible."
After the trophy presentation a ginger ale-spraying celebration ensued.
Ginger ale on the field has become a part of all Rangers celebrations in deference to Hamilton's well-documented substance-abuse problems. The slugger doesn't participate in the clubhouse frenzy filled with champagne and beer.
Nearly every player inside wore goggles as booze was sprayed everywhere. Those same bottles and cans had been packed and brought home from Detroit after the Rangers failed to end the series there.
Game 1 is Wednesday night in St. Louis. The Rangers play in front of the home crowd for Games 3, 4 and 5 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.