DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 13: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers and Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers exchange words during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
C.J. Wilson was battling Justin Verlander pitch-for-pitch on a day when his team had never needed it more.
Then came the sixth inning.
Both pitchers struggled, but only one paid for it.
The Rangers came up in the top of the sixth and got to Verlander, working counts, pushing up his pitch count, doing everything they needed to do to try to knock the ace out early and force Jim Leyland's hand.
They just couldn't push any runs across the plate.
The Rangers got runners on second and third with one out after a double from David Murphy. Then, Mitch Moreland, of all people, walked on four pitches to bring up Ian Kinsler with the bases full and one out.
Kinsler attacked Verlander's first pitch, a fastball, and sent a hard grounder to Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who stepped on third and threw to first for the inning-ending double play as Verlander escaped the inning unscathed.
Then came the biggest break of them all. With Ryan Raburn on first base and Miguel Cabrera at the plate in the bottom half of the sixth, Cabrera hit an identical ball to Adrian Beltre, but the ball hit the third base bag and hopped over Beltre's outstretched glove down the left field line, scoring Raburn from first and giving the Tigers the 3-2 lead. If the ball doesn't hit the bag, it's an almost certain double play with the snail-like Cabrera running to first.
Then Victor Martinez tripled just past a diving Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young homered and the next thing Wilson knew it was 6-2.
It was just one of those nights when you realize things aren't going your way, and that appeared to hit Wilson's psyche.
That was just the bigger of several breaks, including a near-Beltre home run to right field that was just inches from hitting the foul pole that would've given the Rangers a big lead on Verlander.