ARLINGTON -- In May, Mike Napoli passed out T-shirts to poke fun at Michael Young, with "Rangerman" on the front and "Walk the Dog" on the back, using the Rangers' captain impromptu nickname and one of his favorite hitting phrases.After the Rangers' 15-5 win over the Tigers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night, Napoli was gleefully jumping on Young's back in the clubhouse while pouring Budweiser on him and shouting "Rangerman" in his ear. There was no more fitting candidate to propel Texas back to the sport's ultimate stage than Young himself. Young obliged, driving in four runs in the third inning with two doubles, hitting a seventh-inning home run and catching the final out in the Rangers' clinching win. "He's the spirit of this club, and I know earlier in the playoffs he wasn't producing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He showed the quality professional and the quality person that he is. He came through when we needed it, and it seemed like he saved his best for last."
Spin to Win
When Young stepped to the plate in the third with runners on first and second, one out and Texas down, 2-0, the inning looked promising, but far from the nine-run outburst."I was looking to be aggressive on strikes," Young said. "I was happy I got the opportunity to hit with guys on base, and fortunately, it worked out." Young turned on the first pitch he saw from Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer and lined it down the left-field line, plating Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton to tie the ballgame. Later in the same inning, Young came up again after Hamilton was intentionally walked to load the bases. This time, Young fought off an inside fastball from Tigers reliever Rick Porcello that sliced just inside the right-field line to drive in two more and increase the lead to 9-2.
Young in the clutch
|Michael Young||Rangers||Third||2B, 2B||2011 ALCS, Gm 6|
|Ross Youngs||N.Y. Giants||Seventh||2B, 3B||1921 World Series, Gm 3|
|Matt Williams||D-backs||Third||2B, 2B||2001 World Series, Gm 6|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||Red Sox||Third||2B, 2B||2007 World Series, Gm 3|
"We never give up on that guy," Napoli said. "He was struggling a little bit, but we knew he would come through. He's a professional hitter, and he's one of the greatest hitters in this game. We never gave up on him, we had his back and he performed tonight."Young became the fourth player in playoff history to hit multiple extra-base hits in the same inning and the first to do that and drive in four runs. Before Nelson Cruz struck with his sixth ALCS homer in the seventh, Young added a solo shot to straightaway center field, his third extra-base hit of the game. For Young, who has amassed 2,061 career hits, it was just the third time he had accomplished such a feat. It was quite the turnaround for Young, who started the playoffs in a 1-for-11 funk with runners in scoring position out of the cleanup spot. "You could look at the numbers and say he hasn't had a good postseason, but a lot of times, all you need is for guys to have one good game to get the team going, and that's what he did," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. With that, the "Rangerman" will now focus on bringing the franchise its first World Series championship. "This is a great feeling, but we're not done yet," Young said. "We're going to enjoy this tonight and then tomorrow we will start focusing on the next step."
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.