DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 12: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers celebrates as he runs the bases after his three-run home run in the 11th inning to take a 7-3 lead in Game Four of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
As part of a season-ending series, we'll take a look at the 13 most memorable moments from the 2011 Texas Rangers season.
When: Oct. 12
What: With Game 4 of the ALCS tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to issue a free pass to Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. After Cabrera reached third base with one out, a medium-depth fly ball went to right field where Nelson Cruz was waiting. Cabrera was sent for third, plodding home like only the chubby slugger could, and Cruz's throw was absolutely perfect, on a line to Mike Napoli, who braced himself for the freight train coming but luckily only got about a 60-percent effort from Cabrera, who half-heartedly tried to take Napoli out. It was an inning-ending double play on a play that would've given the Tigers the late lead with anything but the perfect throw. The defensive heroics continued when Napoli gunned down Denton's own Austin Jackson at second base in the ninth inning to put an early squash on the Tigers' last rally. The game went into extra innings, and the Rangers duo struck again in the 11th inning when Napoli hit a go-ahead RBI single to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead, but the Rangers weren't finished. With one out and Napoli and Adrian Beltre on base, Cruz sent a blast to the Rangers bullpen for his fourth home run and ninth RBI of the series, becoming the first player in MLB history to hit two extra-inning home runs in one postseason series. The slaughter of vaunted Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave the Rangers a comfortable four-run lead to get three outs in the bottom of the inning and take the 3-1 series lead. They would punch their World Series ticket three days later with their Game 6 rout.
Up next: Cruz's boomstick makes history