Rangers have the Tigers cornered
For much of the game this evening, it looked like the Detroit Tigers were going to continue their bravura performance of Tuesday afternoon, when they got three home runs, and hopefully even the series. But in the late innings, they wasted a couple prime opportunities, and the Texas Rangers finally won the game in extra innings for a second time in the 2011 American League Championship Series. Amazingly enough, it was the same score as on Monday, 7-3, and even more amazing, it was the very same guy (Nelson Cruz) who accounted for most of those runs. Closing pitcher Jose Valverde gave up a leadoff double to Josh Hamilton, who scored when Mike Napoli singled to center field. [On the very next pitch, Cruz hit a three-run blast into the bullpens in left center. The continued superlative batting and fielding performance of Miguel Cabrera ended up a wasted effort. Perhaps the lousy weather had something to do with it. The game was supposed to start at about 4:20, but was delayed for over two hours because of rain. In fact, it continued to drizzle for the first few innings, and the players looked miserable.] So after bouncing back, the Tigers now have their backs against the wall, threatened with "extinction." In both games, attendance was about 42,000, which is about 2,000 more than the official seating capacity at Comerica Park.
On Monday, when the Rangers won a 7-3 victory over the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS, Nelson Cruz hit the first walk-off grand slam in postseason history. The amazing feat took place in the 11th inning. It really wasn't quite as dramatic as you might think, however. The relief pitcher, Ryan Perry, gave up three straight singles without getting a single out, all but guaranteeing that Texas would get the winning run across home plate one way or another. See MLB.com The fans in Arlington were ecstatic.
And so, the Texas Rangers are now only one game away from a return trip to the World Series. Since the Yankees made four consecutive World Series appearances from 1998 to 2001, only one team has done so two years in a row: the Phillies, in 2008 and 2009. But the ALCS ain't over yet, and everyone knows how dangerous Tigers can be when they are cornered.
Comerica Park update
Tomorrow afternoon might be the final game of the year played at Comerica Park, so I figured I ought to hurry and do some touchups on the diagram thereof. For the time being, I have left the 2000 version untouched, so that you can see exactly what changes I made. (Most of them are minor tweaks.) There is a new lower-deck version that doubles as a "full" version, showing all of the peripheral structures on the northeast side of the stadium. Also, I added a "new" panoramic photo, which is actually two old photos taken by John Mikulas that I spliced together.
Pujols leads Cardinal rebound
Thanks to Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals are in excellent position to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2006. Big Al hit a home run and three doubles, batting in five runs altogether, as the Cardinals beat the host Milwaukee Brewers, 12-3. Back home in St. Louis tonight, the Cardinals scored four runs in the first inning, as Pujols hit yet another double, and that was all they needed. Final score: 4-3. The Cards now lead the Brewers 2-1 in the NLCS.
Former Washington National player Nyjer Morgan, who had a rowdy reputation in Washington, has become something of a hero in Milwaukee. He batted in the winning run when the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks last week, and he has not been modest in his celebration. [Morgan made a lot of fans in St. Louis angry earlier this year, and recently taunted Albert Pujols, referring to him as "Alberta" in a Twitter tweet.] See Washington Post. That article reveals that Morgan and Jayson Werth almost got into a fist fight last spring, which probably had something to do with the Nationals' desire to trade him away.
R.I.P. Al Davis (?)
Regarding the late owner of the Oakland Raiders, I wrote this on Facebook a couple days ago:
Here's an idea: Why don't they bury Al Davis in Oakland, California, and then after ten years dig up the grave, move the casket down to Los Angeles and bury him there, and then repeat the process every ten years after that? Either that, or else have his estate reimburse those two cities for the cost of upgrading the respective coliseums where the Raiders played.
Was I being unduly harsh?