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ALCS Gm5: Cabrera doubles off third-base bag

DETROIT -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz set a record on Thursday night for most home runs in a League Championship Series with his fifth. He was not celebrating in the clubhouse afterward.

"It's important if you win," Cruz said. "But it's not a big deal if you lose."

The Rangers did not win, and they are going back to Arlington still needing one more victory to get back to the World Series for the second time in as many seasons. Despite Cruz's record-breaking home run, Rangers starter C.J. Wilson gave up three homers as the Tigers extended their season with a 7-5 victory in Game 5 at Comerica Park.

The Rangers now hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS, with the first pitch of Game 6 scheduled for 7:05 CT on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark. Derek Holland will pitch for the Rangers against Max Scherzer.

"We're still going home with a chance to win it," outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "We would have liked to have finished it off here, but it's good being able to at least take one of three here, considering our history here. It's better than going home down, 3-2."

"We still feel confident we can go home and do it there," catcher Mike Napoli said. "This was another great game; they just won."

The Rangers did have a chance to finish the Tigers off in Detroit, but they couldn't finish off All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander. They worked him hard and made him throw 133 pitches over 7 1/3 innings. But they were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position off Verlander and twice failed to get runners home from third base with fewer than two outs.

"We felt like we had him on the ropes," outfielder David Murphy said. "We piled up some tough at-bats; we just couldn't get it done."

Wilson was done in by a four-run sixth inning. The Tigers, in a 2-2 game, hit for the first natural cycle postseason history in that inning, beginning with a leadoff single by Ryan Raburn. Miguel Cabrera then hit a potential double-play grounder down the third-base line right at third baseman Adrian Beltre in what turned out to be the pivotal moment of the game.

Instead of leading to a double play, the ball hit the bag, bounded over Beltre's head and toward the left-field corner. Cabrera ended up with an RBI double, giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead, and Wilson's night unraveled quickly after that.

"I was right in front of the ball," Beltre said. "I was playing him to pull. The pitch was in. The ball was right at me. There was no doubt it was going to be a double play."

Wilson, who is now 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three postseason starts this year, then gave up a triple to Victor Martinez and the second of two home runs by Delmon Young.

"It was an unlucky break, but it's still just 3-2," Wilson said. "If you make good pitches, you can still minimize damage, and I made enough bad pitches to get myself in trouble."

Wilson also gave up home runs to Alex Avila in the second and Young in the fourth. This is the second time in three playoff starts that Wilson has given up three home runs. He gave up more than two homers in a game only once in 34 regular-season starts.

Young's first home run gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead after four. Then came two innings in which the Rangers came close to getting to Verlander but could not finish the job.

The Rangers were able to tie it in the fifth when Ian Kinsler walked, went to second on a single by Elvis Andrus and scored on a single by Hamilton. Andrus also went to third on the play, but the Rangers couldn't get him home. Michael Young struck out and Beltre, after missing a three-run home run down the right-field line by no more than a few feet, flied out to deep center.

"We missed a home run by inches, and they opened the game up by inches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They caught a break with the ball hitting the bag."

The Rangers also missed a chance to take the lead in the sixth. Napoli led off with a single and, after Cruz struck out, Murphy doubled to right. Verlander then walked Mitch Moreland on four pitches to load the bases.

"We had him right there," Washington said.

But Kinsler followed with a grounder right at third baseman Brandon Inge, who was also guarding the line and was able to start an easy inning-ending double play. Verlander walked off the mound pumping his fist.

"Yeah, I was happy," Verlander said. "Fastball down and in. Broken-bat roller to Brandon -- basically, exactly how I would have drawn it up. It couldn't have worked out any better."

"We had a couple of innings where we could have done some damage and didn't get it done," Hamilton said. "I thought we battled him good. Verlander is a good pitcher and good at what he does, but I felt we at least gave ourselves a chance."

Wilson, after giving up four runs in the sixth, left trailing, 6-2, and Koji Uehara gave up an seventh-inning home run to Raburn. The Tigers needed the extra run because Cruz hit a two-run home run off Verlander in the eighth that forced the ace out of the game.

The Tigers did not have right-handed setup man Joaquin Benoit or closer Jose Valverde available, so they had to get by with left-hander Phil Coke. Coke took the 7-4 lead into the ninth, quickly recording two outs before giving up a double to Hamilton and a single to Young. Beltre followed with a walk, but Coke got Napoli on a grounder to second to end the game.

"I thought we played a very good ballgame," Washington said. "You got to give the Tigers credit. They beat us. They put runs up, and we couldn't catch up. We played as good of baseball as we could today and they played as good of baseball as they could, and they won."

The Rangers still need to win one more.

"It would have been nice to do it here," Murphy said. "A team as good as the Tigers, you want to put them away as quickly as you can. The bottom line is we're going home, we play well at home and we have a chance to do it in front of our fans. It should be fun." Comments