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April 22, 2012

Rangers 3, Tigers 2 (F)

DETROIT -- Alberto Gonzalez put down a disputed suicide squeeze bunt in the 11th inning to plate the winning run as the Rangers outlasted Detroit with a 3-2 victory that gave the Rangers three wins in a four-game rematch of the 2011 American League Championship Series.

The Rangers had loaded the bases with no outs against rookie Thad Weber, who was making his major-league debut. Gonzalez bunted the first pitch, and Nelson Cruz scored. Tigers manager Jim Leyland, though, argued that it should have been a foul ball after making contact with Gonzalez.

The umpires huddled, but the original call stood. Gonzalez admitted afterward that the ball hit him in the knee.

Joe Nathan entered and secured his fourth save of the season after pitching around a two-out single by Miguel Cabrera. Nathan has never blown a save in 34 tries against Detroit. Left-hander Robbie Ross, who worked a perfect 10th inning, improved to 3-0.

The victory moved the Rangers to 13-3, the best record after 16 games in club history and the best in the majors since 2003.

Josh Hamilton drove in the other two Rangers runs and was the only hitter with much success against left-hander Drew Smyly over six innings, despite being a left-handed hitter. Hamilton went 3 for 3, including a solo homer in the first, and delivered a sacrifice fly in the eighth off lefty Phil Coke for a 2-2 tie.

Brennan Boesch hit a solo homer in the sixth inning off Colby Lewis, who allowed two runs in seven innings. But he was on the hook for his first loss of the season when Boesch found the right-field seats with one out in the sixth for a 2-1 lead.

It was Boesch's third career homer against Lewis, who has allowed a homer in 3 of 4 starts to start the season.

The Rangers had a chance to take the lead in the sixth when Hamilton singled, moved to second on a groundout and went to third on a throwing error. But Smyly struck out Nelson Cruz and got Mike Napoli to hit a harmless flyball to center field.

-- Jeff Wilson

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