Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nelson Cruz Walks Off Tigers with Grand Slam; Albert Pujols Sets Extra Base Mark in 12-3 Cardinal Win

Players of the Day for Monday, October 10, 2011

American League

Rangers 7 Tigers 3, 11 innings

After a day of rain and 11 innings of game two in the AL Championship Series, Nelson Cruz left no doubt, snapping a 3-3 tie with his second home run of the game and third of the series, a no-out grand slam into the left field seats off Detroit reliever, Ryan Perry.

Nelson Cruz
Cruz's home run was the fourth straight hit off Perry, who failed to retire a batter as he started the 11th frame. Leading off the 7th inning, Cruz went deep to tie the game, sending Tiger starter Max Scherzer to the showers and setting the stage for the dramatic finish four innings later.

Texas now has a commanding, 2-0, lead in the series which heads to Detroit on Tuesday. Due to the washout Sunday, the normal travel day has become a game day, with Colby Lewis going to the mound for the Rangers to face Tiger hurler, Doug Fister. Game three's first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Cardinals 12 Brewers 3

Albert Pujols wasted little time showing the Milwaukee Brewers that the Cardinals were not going to go down easy. Albert the Great, baseball's most prolific power hitter, sent a first inning offering from Brewer starter Shaun Marcum into the left field stands for a 2-0 Cardinal lead that would not be relinquished.

"King" Albert
With the lead in hand and the Cardinals intent on tying the series at one game apiece, Pujols let his bat do all the talking, collecting, in 5 at-bats, three doubles to go with his homer, five RBI and the pleasure of setting his foot on home plate three times. His four extra-base hits set an MLB playoff record.

In the third inning, Pujols slammed a double over the head of Milwaukee center fielder Nyjer Morgan, who had earlier tweeted about the Cardinal strong man, calling him "Alberta." Morgan crashed into the wall as Edwin Jackson and Jon Jay scored on Pujols' smash hit.

The Cardinals greeted Brewer reliever Maroo Estrada with a pair of doubles, one by Jay to lead off the 5th inning, followed immediately by Pujols' second double of the game.

Pujols finished his extra-base barrage with one out in the 7th, lashing a ground rule double to right field and scoring on Matt Holiday's single. The rest of the Cardinals joined in the assault, scoring four runs in the inning. David Freese knocked a solo home run in the top of the 9th inning to complete the Cardinal scoring and send the series back to St. Louis on Wednesday, tied 1-1.

Game three's pitching match-up has the two staff aces going up the mound. Yovani Gallardo gets the start for Milwaukee, while Chris Carpenter will open the game for St. Louis at 8:05 pm EDT.

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