Mike Olt may be one of the Texas Rangers' top prospects, but on Saturday night he proved he is ready to contribute right now.
Olt knocked home a pinch-hit, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Tigers.
A pair of walks from Nelson Cruz and Michael Young set up the game-winning at- bat for Olt, who drove a 2-2 pitch past a diving Miguel Cabrera into left field.
"It's been a surreal experience," Olt said, who was called up from Double-A Frisco on Aug. 1. "It's been a special week. It's good to get in there and get my feet wet."
Derek Holland was spectacular for the Rangers, pitching 7 2/3 innings allowing just three hits, one walk, and one earned run while tying a season-high with nine strikeouts. Mike Adams (2-3) worked out of a ninth inning jam and earned the win.
Justin Verlander was his same old self, striking out eight over seven innings of work while giving up just one run. Although Phil Coke gave up the hit to Olt that lost the game, it was Brayan Villarreal (3-3) who surrendered the baserunners and therefore was saddled with the loss.
A solo homer from Austin Jackson in the top of the first inning gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead, but it was the only run production they would see all night. A Nelson Cruz RBI single in the third tied the game up, and the teams played five scoreless innings before the walk-off knock.
Rick Porcello will throw for the Tigers in Sunday afternoon's rubber match. He's been spotty at best this season with a 9-6 record and a 4.62 ERA.
Porcello has pitched better of late however, winning three of his last four starts, including his last time out against the Yankees on Aug. 7, when he allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been hit hard this season, allowing an astounding 163 hits over 128 2/3 innings. The Rangers have lit him up over his career as well to the tune of 32 hits and 16 earned runs over 17 innings.
The Rangers will counter with Yu Darvish, who's also had his fair share of struggles in his first season in big leagues. Though his record (11-8) and strikeout numbers (154) are impressive, he sports a 4.57 ERA and has walked an eye-popping 74 batters over 134 innings.
Darvish is in the midst of his worst stretch of the season. He's 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA over his last six starts, culminating in an 11-hit, four-walk, six- earned run performance in a 9-2 loss to the Red Sox on Aug. 6.
"When things do go your way for a period of time, I think it's natural that you feel frustrated," Darvish said through a translator after his last outing. "I'm sure a lot of players go through this during the year."
The good news for the Rangers is that Darvish has beaten the Tigers in both starts against them this season, allowing just 12 base runners in 13 1/3 innings while striking out 15.
The Rangers have won six of nine encounters with the Tigers this season.