After the Detroit Tigers won Game 1 of their American League Division Series with the Oakland Athletics, things couldn’t have been aligned more perfectly.
Taking the mound for Game 2 would be ace Justin Verlander, who would hopefully send the Tigers back to Detroit with a 2-0 series advantage, looking to close things out in Game 3 with a sweep.
But of course, games aren’t played on paper and it’s now the Tigers, who after three games, are facing potential elimination.
Things started off well for Oakland this afternoon thanks to a Miguel Cabrera error which plated the first run of the game, giving the Athletics a one run lead in the third inning. Oakland continued to increase their lead in the top half of the fourth thanks to a solo home run from Josh Reddick and a sacrifice fly from Coco Crisp, though that 3-0 lead didn’t last very long.
No more than fifteen minutes later in the bottom half of that inning, the Tigers’ powerful offense struck back, knotting the score at three all thanks to a Victor Martinez RBI double which was followed by a two-run single off the bat of Jhonny Peralta.
Momentum had seemingly shifted Detroit’s way, but that too was short lived as the Athletics continued to feast on Anibal Sanchez, hitting two home runs off the American League’s ERA leader in the top of the fifth inning. The shots gave the Athletics a 6-3 lead, a lead that would hold up en route to the A’s Game 3 win.
The win wasn’t without some ninth inning dramatics though as Athletics closer Grant Balfour was seen mouthing words to Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez after a foul ball, which V-Mart took exception to. Martinez began to bark back and two began lacing verbal barbs towards each other (the vulgarities clearly picked up by the game mics) as both benches cleared. Order was restored a few moments later and Balfour closed out the game without any further incident.
The victory has at minimum guaranteed a return to Oakland for a winner-take-all Game 5, though the Athletics will be doing everything they can to end the series in Detroit on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be playing for plane ticket to California.