ARLINGTON, Texas – For the second time in three games, the Detroit Tigers couldn't produce a clutch hit in the ninth inning.
After not scoring with the bases loaded in the top half, rookie Mike Olt's pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth scored Nelson Cruz with the winning run in the Texas Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Tigers on Saturday night.
Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta both had a chance to snap the 1-1 tie with the bases loaded against reliever Mike Adams (2-3), but didn't come through.
On Thursday against the New York Yankees, the Tigers had runners on first and third with no outs. Again the runners were stranded, and Detroit lost 4-3.
The Tigers missed an opportunity to move into a first-place tie in the AL Central with the Chicago White Sox, who lost Saturday to Oakland.
"Plain and simple, we didn't get a run in from third," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm not mad or upset about it. That's just the way it is."
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder walked with one out in the ninth, and Delmon Young hit a sharp single to right that loaded the bases.
Cabrera was forced out at home on Boesch's slow grounder to first. Peralta lined out to center to end Detroit's threat.
"We got a shot and didn't take advantage of it," Leyland said.
The 23-year-old Olt drove a 2-2 pitch from Phil Coke past a diving Cabrera into left field to score Cruz, who easily beat the throw home.
Olt, one of the Rangers' most highly touted prospects, was called up on Aug. 1 after belting 28 home runs in Double-A Frisco. The right-hander batted for Mitch Moreland against the left-handed Coke.
"He was working me off the plate a little bit," Olt said. "I was able to fight off some good pitches."
Cruz and Michael Young each drew four-pitch walks from Brayan Villarreal (3-3) in the bottom of the ninth. Coke relieved and got the next two outs before Olt delivered the winning hit.
Olt was mobbed by his teammates in a wild celebration near first base after he became the first Rangers rookie with a game-ending pinch hit since Mike Lamb did it on May 5, 2000.
"When you walk the first two guys in extra innings, you lose," Leyland said. "You can't do that."
Austin Jackson led off the game with a home run for the Tigers, who managed only three hits after the first inning.
"It was a tough loss," Detroit ace Justin Verlander said. "I would have loved for us to have this win."
Texas left-hander Derek Holland matched Verlander in a rematch of last season's ALCS.
Holland tied a season-high with nine strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings. The left-hander allowed three hits and walked one.
Holland was 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA in his previous four starts. He got off to rocky start when Jackson homered on the fourth pitch of the game, and Omar Infante followed with a single.
After that, Holland allowed only a walk to Cabrera in the fourth and Peralta's single in the fifth.
"He stood up for us," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He was competing hard. He did what he had to do."
Verlander allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings. The reigning AL MVP struck out eight in a 118-pitch outing.
Verlander, who retired the final 10 batters he faced, leads the majors with 174 strikeouts.
Jackson homered on a 1-2 pitch leading off the game. It was Jackson's ninth career leadoff blast and fifth this season.
The Rangers had three consecutive singles with two outs in the third. Cruz's broken bat RBI hit capped the rally and tied the game at 1.
"If you're going to give up a run, you'd rather it would be hit hard." Verlander said. "I battled all night and I was able to keep them off the board other than that."
Notes: The Rangers celebrated their 40th anniversary in Texas by honoring their all-time team and inducting radio broadcaster Eric Nadel into the team's Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. Both teams wore their 1976 uniforms as part of the celebration. . Detroit's Rick Porcello (9-6) will face Texas rookie Yu Darvish (11-8) in the series finale Sunday. . Texas RHP Koji Uehara, who has been on the disabled list since June 10 with a right lat strain, will throw a bullpen session on Sunday.