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MLB Playoffs - Rangers Walk Off In Extras, Cardinals Blow Out Brewers

James Santelli |
October 10, 2011 | 9:19 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

Nelson Cruz's two homers, including a walkoff, led Texas to victory. (Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)
Nelson Cruz's two homers, including a walkoff, led Texas to victory. (Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)
Here are some things you may have missed in Monday's League Championship Series action:

Texas Rangers 7, Detroit Tigers 3 (11 innings) - Texas up 2-0

-- It was Nelson Cruz's night. His solo homer in the 7th inning tied the game up at 3-3. Then in the 11th, he came up with the bases loaded, and hit a towering shot just inside the left field foul pole for the game-winning grand slam. It was the first walkoff postseason victory in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise.

-- Give plenty of credit to the Rangers' bullpen. Five relievers combined for 8.1 scoreless innings, allowing only six baserunners. After starter Derek Holland (2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 0 K) gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Raburn in the 3rd inning, the Texas bullpen kept the Rangers in the game.

As Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan put it: "Pretty simple: the Rangers' bullpen is just that much better and deeper than the Tigers' bullpen." True enough, the Rangers bullpen had a 3.86 xFIP this season (10th in MLB), compared to 4.21 xFIP for Detroit (28th in the Majors). xFIP is a defense-independent pitching metric. Key trade deadline acquisition Mike Adams tossed a scoreless 11th, including two strikeouts.

Via Matt Sussman
Via Matt Sussman
-- Home plate umpires are not always perfect. See "Ball" 2 on the left. (via Matt Sussman)

-- Adrian Beltre has been the MVP of the Rangers so far in October. He leads the team with a 1.152 OPS in the playoffs (.333 BA, .360 OBP, .792 SLG), and added his fifth RBI this postseason in the 1st inning by doubling in Josh Hamilton.

-- A Twitter feed called @ShrimpAlert notifies followers when a "Shrimp" or walkoff walk is close to occurring. The feed was busy today, with the Tigers loading the bases with Rangers in the Bottom 9th (ended by a double play), and in the Bottom 11th (ended by Nelson Cruz hitting a baseball hard).

St. Louis Cardinals 12, Milwaukee Brewers 3 - Series Tied 1-1

-- Albert Pujols is good at playing baseball. The machine went 4-for-5 with a homer and three doubles, scored three runs, and had five RBIs. Pujols had amazingly not recorded an RBI in the previous six Cardinals postseason games.

-- Cardinals 3B David Freese continued his great October with a 2-for-5 night, including a 9th inning home run to extend the St. Louis lead. Freese has a .985 OPS this postseason, and 8 RBIs for the Cards.

-- If the Brewers are eliminated in the NLCS, you can't blame LF Ryan Braun. He is 11-for-22 in the playoffs, leading all hitters in batting average and OPS (1.577). He has reached base in 15 of his 26 plate appearances.

-- It's possible that Monday's game was Prince Fielder's last at Miller Park in a Brewers uniform. If that turns out to be the case, he certainly went out with a bang, a towering homer in his final at-bat. (Hat-tip to @rtjr)

-- For all the attention Brewers CF Nyjer Morgan has attracted in October, he is not performing well at the plate. "Tony Plush" is 3-for-20 with a lousy .498 OPS, and has struck out in nine of his 22 plate appearances. (Hat-tip to @ThreeRiversBlog)

-- Brewers starter Shaun Marcum has also been unimpressive this postseason. Through two starts and 8.2 innings, Marcum has allowed 12 earned runs and 18 baserunners, with just four strikeouts. That adds up to a 12.46 ERA and 2.08 WHIP in the playoffs.

-- Today in "pitcher wins are a useless stat," we have Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn. He threw one pitch, but still earned the victory for St. Louis. He's a winner!


Reach James by email or follow him on Twitter, @JamesSantelli.

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