After an intense ALDS battle, it was only fitting that the A’s and Tigers went deep into extra innings in their first game since the playoff clash.
And, for the A’s, it was fitting that they continued their trend of nail-biting wins capped off by electrifying walk-offs.
Josh Donaldson blasted a walk-off home run to extend Oakland’s winning streak to nine games and allow the A’s to get revenge on the Tigers (after Detroit beat Oakland in the ALDS). Detroit didn’t get much going offensively, as a Prince Fielder home run plated all three Tiger runs. Singles from Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp brought home runs for the A’s, and a throwing error on Eric Sogard’s attempt to steal third brought Sogard in for a run.
Detroit struck first, as Fielder blasted his home run to center field to bring home three runs and give the Tigers a comfortable third-inning lead. However, Bartolo Colon settled down, and he was able to give the A’s seven sharp innings. Because the game went deep, it was key that Colon stayed in to keep the bullpen fresh. Scherzer went six innings, and while he was in line for the win, some big hits from the A’s spoiled that.
In the seventh inning, Crisp hit a flare into left field that just got over the glove of Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Donaldson scored on the hit. Before Crisp’s game-tying hit, Reddick brought in Jed Lowrie with a ground ball to the right side that got through the hole, a hit that contributed to Scherzer leaving after six innings. Detroit’s bullpen, which isn’t known for being dominant, did a nice job, giving up two runs in five and one-thirds innings.
Oakland’s bullpen, on the other hand, twirled five scoreless innings. Chris Resop got the win by retiring Austin Jackson to end the top of the 12th, as Jackson flied out. Jerry Blevins pitched before Resop, and he got lucky on a deep hit by Detroit’s Ramon Santiago. Santiago crushed a ball off the left-field scoreboard (which is in play), and instead of a crushing two-out home run, Santiago had to settle for a triple. Resop came in and got Austin Jackson to fly out, and in the bottom of the inning, Donaldson struck with his opposite-field drive.
Reddick, who was honored before the game for winning a Gold Glove in 2012, made a spectacular catch against the right field wall in the ninth inning to rob Victor Martinez of extra bases. The Tigers had chances to score throughout the game, as they accumulated 12 hits (the A’s only accumulated eight). However, despite getting hits in the 10th, 11th and 12th inning (and having the deep hit from Martinez in the ninth), the Tigers couldn’t score.
The result? A heart-breaking loss to the A’s, who seem to always win these riveting games.
Oakland pieced together a nice team win, receiving key hits from the offense and a stellar performance from Colon and the bullpen. Oakland is 2-0 in Colon’s starts, and overall, the A’s are 9-2. The A’s are two games ahead of 7-4 Texas for first place in the AL West, but to keep their streak going, they will have to find a way to dethrone the mighty Justin Verlander.
Can they do so? If tonight’s heroics and Oakland’s knack for winning tight games are any indication, they can.