video thumbnail

ALCS Gm3: Hamilton singles to give Rangers early lead

DETROIT -- The Rangers followed up one of the biggest wins in franchise history with one of their most familiar losses. Not even Colby Lewis and all of his postseason excellence could erase the Rangers' history at Comerica Park.

Lewis allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings and the Tigers, behind the pitching of starter Doug Fister, re-engaged in the American League Championship Series with a 5-2 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday night.

The Rangers had a chance to apply what would've essentially been a knockout blow, but it didn't happen at a place where they are 23-34 -- a .404 winning percentage -- since the stadium opened in 2000. Instead of putting the Tigers in an almost totally untenable position, the Rangers still have a 2-1 lead in the series, with Game 4 set for 3:19 p.m. CT on Wednesday in Detroit. Matt Harrison will pitch for the Rangers against Rick Porcello.

"Every loss is disappointing," Game 2 hero Nelson Cruz said. "We expect to win every game, but it doesn't work like that. They're a good team. We'll come back tomorrow."

The Rangers gave more credit to Fister than any historical problems they might have at Comerica Park. The right-hander earned the victory by holding the Rangers to two runs over 7 1/3 innings while pretty much shutting down the middle of their order. Josh Hamilton had an RBI single off Fister but still combined with Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Cruz to go 1-for-15 against the righty through seven innings and 2-for-19 overall on the night.

"He threw well," said Young, who was 0-for-4 and is now hitting .111 in the postseason. "We might have been a little over-aggressive, but he threw well. We just couldn't get anything going offensively."

Fister, acquired by the Tigers from the Mariners on July 30, is now 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA against the Rangers in his career.

"I thought he put on a clinic," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Fister. "I thought he put on a pitching clinic, in and out, moving the ball around, moving the ball both sides of the plate."

Beltre fouled a pitch off his left knee in the fourth inning and appeared hobbled the rest of the game. He underwent X-rays that showed only a contusion, and he is expected to be ready for Game 4.

Lewis, undefeated in five postseason starts entering the game, just couldn't match Fister despite saying he felt strong on the mound. He allowed eight hits, including two home runs, and is now 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six career postseason starts.

"It was one of those nights where I felt really good," Lewis said. "Sometimes you get results and sometimes you don't. My curveball was spotty, but I threw some good ones. My changeup was there. I felt all my pitches were working well. Sometimes you get results and sometimes you don't."

The Rangers had a chance to get to Fister early but, despite scoring first, let him get away. Texas opened the first inning with three straight singles by Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Hamilton to take a 1-0 lead. But Young, with runners at first and second, hit a grounder right at shortstop Jhonny Peralta that was turned into a double play. The rally fizzled when Fister struck out Beltre.

A double play also hurt the Rangers in the third after Kinsler led off with an infield single. Kinsler ran on the first pitch to Andrus, who bounced a grounder right up the middle. Peralta fielded it near second, stepped on the bag just ahead of Kinsler and threw to first to complete the double play. Andrus was visibly angry after getting thrown out at first.

"I was upset at myself," Andrus said. "I should have pulled the ball, but I was trying to go the other way and hit it up the middle. I always get upset at myself when I don't get the job done."

Fister only got better as the evening progressed, while Lewis started getting into trouble. Lewis, who allowed an AL-leading 35 home runs during the regular season, gave up one to Victor Martinez in the fourth that tied the game. The Tigers then took the lead in the sixth on two-out singles by Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago, and an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera.

Peralta led off the sixth with a home run to make it 3-1. Lewis saw his night come to an end when he gave up a two-out single to Andy Dirks. Koji Uehara, pitching for the first time since Game 2 of the AL Division Series, took over and, after Dirks stole second, gave up an RBI single to Jackson.

"Colby kept us in the ballgame," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It was Fister that did the job out there tonight."

Cabrera hit a home run off Uehara in the seventh. A double by Yorvit Torrealba, who had three hits, and a couple of ground balls brought home the Rangers' second run off Fister in the eighth. But Tigers relievers Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde closed it out without further damage.

MLB.com Comments