- Associated Press - Saturday, October 15, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz and the Texas Rangers are headed to their second straight World Series, finishing off the Detroit Tigers with a huge offensive burst 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.

“It’s very sweet,” said Young, the Rangers‘ longest-tenured player, in his 11th season. “We’re happy we’re going to the World Series right now. But we have a lot of work to do. Happy, but not satisfied.”

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 RBIs 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 RBIs in the finale, asked for a trade last winter but wound up staying and helped make sure the World Series will again be deep in the heart of Texas. Even the loss of Cliff Lee, who became a free agent and signed with Philadelphia, didn’t prevent a Rangers repeat.

Young caught Brandon Inge’s game-ending popout in short right field and pumped a right hand into the air signaling “No. 1” while fireworks and confetti filled the sky, 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 ginger ale-spraying celebration to come while a banner was unfurled high over center field declaring the Rangers 2011 AL champions

With former President George W. Bush seated in the front row alongside Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, part of the ownership group that took over the team last year, Rangers manager Ron Washington was at the edge of the dugout wildly waving his arms and shouting encouragement to his players as the big inning unfolded.

All Tigers manager Jim Leyland could do was take off his cap and scratch his head.

A 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 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.

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