Luck be a Tiger tonight. I think that's a Frank Sinatra song, but I may be wrong. Either way it perfectly describes the Detroit Tigers victory in Game 5 of the ALCS.
With a runner on in the 6th inning, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera hit what should have been a double play ball to third. Instead his grounder bounced off the bag, shot over the outstretched arm of Adrain Beltre and went into left field. The lucky bounce allowed Ryan Raburn to score from first base and started a four run inning for Detroit.
"We got...a lucky break. That ball off the bag, you know, we've been really looking for that all series and we were able to get it so...it's just [a] great team win," Raburn said, who later added a solo home run in the 7th.
"I have that bag in my office right now. And that will be in my memorabilia room at some point in my life, I can promise you, joked Manager Jim Leyland after the game.
The sixth inning also marked the first natural cycle by a team in postseason history. Raburn started with a single, Cabrera followed with the bag-hopping double, Victor Martinez was up next, sending a shot into right field just beyond the outstretched arm of the Rangers' Nelson Cruz for a triple, then Delmon Young brought Martinez home with his second home run of the game to left-center field.
The scoring started in the 3rd with a solo home run to left from Alex Avila. Combined with Young's two moon-shots and Raburn's long ball, the Tigers recorded their most home runs in a single postseason game.
"Oh really?...I had no idea...well, thanks to Delmon, he hit two of them...that's pretty awesome," Raburn said when told of he and his teammates accomplishment.
On the mound, Justin Verlander had some shaky moments, including a 6th inning where it looked like the Rangers were going to open the game up. But the Tigers ace got Ian Kinsler to ground into a double play to end the inning. With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde unavailable after long outings in Game 4, Leyland needed Verlander to go deep into the game. He did just that, throwing a career high 133 pitches in 7 and 1/3 innings while striking out eight batters.
"He's our ace, he did unbelievable today," Tigers outfielder Don Kelly said. "...and Phil coming in there to close it down, it was exciting there at the end but he got the job done."
Kelly is referring to Tigers reliever Phil Coke, who allowed a run in the ninth to make the game 7-5. With the go-ahead run at the plate, Coke got Mike Napoli to ground into a force out at 2nd and send the series back to Texas.
After an off day on Friday, the teams take the field for Game 6 on Saturday at 8:05 p.m.
For more from Game 5, including complete box score, visit Yahoo! Sports.