ALDS Game 3: Oakland Bullpen Keeps Tigers Offense Quiet

ALDS Game 3 - Oakland at Detroit
ALDS Game 3 - Oakland at Detroit
Oct 7 2013 Detroit MI USA Oakland Athletics designated hitter Seth Smith 15 receives congratulations from teammates after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers in game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Comerica Park Rick Osentoski USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s bullpen held the Detroit Tigers to three runs en route to a 6-3 win in game three of the ALDS. It was the first of two in Detroit after the teams split games one and two in Oakland. The Athletics are now one win away from advancing to their first ALCS since 2006, where they were swept by the Tigers.

A’s starter Jarrod Parker pitched five innings, giving up three runs on five hits. Anibal Sanchez, the American League’s ERA leader gave up six runs on eight hits through 4.1 innings, though only five of the runs were earned.

Oakland got on the board in the third inning when Yoenis Cespedes reached on a fielding error by Miguel Cabrera at third, socring Coco Crisp. They added to their lead in the fourth on a solo home run to right field off the bat of Josh Reddick, and picked up their second run of the inning on a Coco Crisp sacrifice-fly to left which scored Steven Vogt.

The Tigers answered in the bottom half of the fourth with a two-run double by Victor Martinez, and an RBI single by Jhonny Peralta, tying the game at three.

Anibal Sanchez was unable to keep the Tigers afloat when in the top of the fifth he allowed three more runs via home runs by Brandon Moss and Seth Smith. Sanchez struggled with his command throughout the game and had trouble locating a variety of pitches including his fastball at times.

Oakland’s bullpen kept the Tigers scoreless through the 9th with Dan Otero pitching two and Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour each pitching scoreless frames.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Victor Martinez and Grant Balfour exchanged words and met each other between home plate and the mound, effectively clearing both benches and causing a short delay. Balfour got Martinez to line out to right, then walked Alex Avila, but was able to seal the victory for the Athletics on a ground ball off the bat of Omar Infante.

Before the fourth inning of game three, the Tigers hadn’t scored a run in 20 consecutive innings, tying a streak they set in the 2012 postseason, when they failed to score a run through 20 innings of the World Series.

Oakland continued their strong hitting in Detroit, as they did in a series in late August when they pummeled the Tigers with 20 extra-base hits and 36 runs over the four game set.

Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder combined to go 3-for-8 without an RBI, and Austin Jackson’s postseason struggles continued as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, bringing his strikeout total in the ALDS to ten.

Game five will feature two right handed pitchers in Doug Fister vs. Dan Straily.

ALDS Game 54 – OAK @ DET – Tuesday, October 8th, 5:00 or 8:00 PM (TBA) – TBS

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.