Nelson Cruz sliced a two-run homer for his latest big postseason hit, and the Baltimore Orioles swept aside Detroit's Cy Young Award winners to hold off the Tigers 2-1 Sunday and reach the AL Championship Series for the first time since 1997.
Bud Norris outpitched David Price in Game 3 of the AL Division Series. The Tigers scored in the ninth and put the tying run on second with no outs, but Orioles closer Zach Britton escaped the jam and lifted Buck Showalter into his first ALCS in 16 seasons as a big league manager.
Cruz's homer was the 16th of his postseason career, including eight against the Tigers. He was the MVP of the 2011 ALCS for Texas in a six-game victory over Detroit.
Cruz spent much of this past offseason without a team after serving a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball's drug agreement.
Tucson's J.J. Hardy and UA product Nick Hundley will play in a League Championship Series for the first time in their careers.
Hardy, a 2001 Sabino High School grad, went three-for-ten in the ALDS with his first playoff home run and three runs batted in. Hundley went zero-for-eight and drove in one run.
The end of the series meant the end of Ian Kinsler's first season in Detroit. The Canyon del Oro High School grad did not have a very good series. He managed just one hit in 12 at-bats.
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