ARLINGTON -- An amazing third inning, matched only four other times in postseason history, ensured the Texas Rangers' season would continue for another week.
But there were no sighs of relief in their dugout, and their foot remained firmly planted on the throttle. Ron Washington managed the final four innings as if his team was up one, instead of well in front.
Finally, the 27th out of Game 6 arrived, and euphoria swept through Rangers Ballpark -- home of the American League champions for a second consecutive season.
The Rangers erased an early deficit with nine runs in the third inning, and the bullpen allowed one run in 41/3 innings in a 15-5 victory that clinched the AL Championship Series and another trip to the World Series.
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Nelson Cruz was named the ALCS MVP after hitting six homers and driving in 13 runs, both single-series postseason records. The MVP on Saturday, though, was Michael Young, who had two doubles in the third, a homer in the seventh and five RBIs.
"We wanted to get to the World Series, but the bottom line is getting to the World Series and winning it," Washington said. "[Young] is the spirit of this club. He came through when we needed it. As far as I was concerned, tonight he put us on his back.
"Everyone stepped up, and everyone contributed. That's why I say we saved our best for last, because we certainly, as a group, are capable of busting out the way we busted out tonight. And it couldn't have come at a better time."
The Fall Classic will begin Wednesday at the home of the National League champion, either Milwaukee or St. Louis. The Cardinals lead the NLCS three games to two with Game 6 set for tonight at Miller Park.
The Rangers will sit back and watch -- and their injured players and relievers will get needed rest -- after ousting Detroit in six games, thanks to a 14-batter rally in the third that did not include a home run.
It started after Brandon Inge robbed Ian Kinsler of a single with a diving stop on a sharp grounder for the first out. The next nine Rangers reached against Max Scherzer and two other relievers in the highest-scoring postseason inning since Anaheim scored nine in the 2002 ALCS.
Young had two doubles and four RBIs in the inning as he became the first player in LCS history and fourth in playoff history with two extra-base hits in one inning.
He entered the game with two postseason RBIs.
"I feel exactly the same right now that I did if I'd gone 0 for 4," Young said. "It's all about getting wins right now."
Said third baseman Adrian Beltre: "He was huge. Huge. He got two hits with runners in scoring position, and we needed some breathing room. We really until today hadn't shown that we can hit like we know we can."
Down 9-2, Detroit showed some life in the fifth as Denton native Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer off Derek Holland. It was the third homer Holland allowed, and it was the last straw before Washington turned to the bullpen.
Scott Feldman got the last out in the fifth, though it took a wall-crashing catch by Josh Hamilton in left field. Alexi Ogando (2-0) followed with two scoreless innings.
The offense kept churning, as Young and Cruz hit homers in a three-run seventh before Mike Adams allowed Miguel Cabrera's second homer of the game in the eighth.
Neftali Feliz, just as he did last year in Game 6 of the ALCS against New York, recorded the final three outs and was mobbed by his teammates.
The Rangers say they still have one more celebration to go.
"Maybe some people will start talking about us," Hamilton said. "No one was talking about us in spring training. It was all the Phillies and Boston.
"We can play some baseball."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760