ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz and the Texas Rangers are headed to their second straight World Series, finishing off the Detroit Tigers to become the American League’s first repeat champion in a decade.

Cruz set a postseason record with his sixth home run of the series, Michael Young hit a pair of two-run doubles in a nine-run third inning, and the Rangers romped to a 15-5 win Saturday night that won the AL pennant in six games.

They’ll open the World Series on Wednesday night at St. Louis or Milwaukee, seeking the first title in the history of a franchise that started play in 1961.

Cruz had 13 RBI in the series, another postseason record, and was selected MVP.

“He was unbelievable,” teammate Adrian Beltre said. “Every moment we needed him, he came through.”

Young, who also homered, had five RBI in the finale, and the longest-tenured player on the Rangers helped make sure the World Series will again be deep in the heart of Texas.

Young caught Brandon Inge’s game-ending pop fly in short right field and pumped a fist into the air signaling “No. 1” while fireworks and confetti filled the air, then ran toward the middle of the field to celebrate with his teammates.

Cruz threw both hands in the air and briefly knelt to a knee in the outfield before running to the infield for the celebration to come while a banner was unfurled high over center field declaring the Rangers 2011 AL champions

The franchise that began as the expansion Washington Senators and moved to Texas in 1972 had failed to reach the World Series in its first 49 seasons. Then the Rangers won their first AL pennant last year only to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants in five games.

“As soon as the season began, we were hungry, we were hungry to get back,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said.

Texas overcame a 2-0 deficit by sending 14 batters to the plate against Detroit starter Max Scherzer (0-1) and three relievers in the highest-scoring postseason inning since 2002.

Alexi Ogando (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his second win in the series as the Rangers became the AL’s first consecutive pennant winner since the New York Yankees won four in a row from 1998-01.


BREWERS-CARDINALS: Randy Wolf, who has had the best outing of any Milwaukee starter in the NL championship series, said he’d be ready to pitch out of the bullpen if Milwaukee can force a Game 7.

If the Brewers are able to beat the Cardinals today in Game 6, Wolf will have had three days’ rest going into Monday.

Wolf threw seven innings in Milwaukee’s 4-2 victory Thursday night and talked with Manager Ron Roenicke about pitching in the series finale.

“I said if you need me in the bullpen, I’m there,” Wolf said.

Game 6 starter Shaun Marcum has struggled in his postseason starts, but Roenicke said he never considered bringing back ace Yovani Gallardo on three days’ rest to pitch today. If the Brewers win Game 6, Gallardo will start Game 7 Monday night against St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter.

“(Gallardo) is not an option (for Game 6),” Roenicke said.