October 7, 2012

Tigers take 2-0 lead over A's in ALDS

The Associated Press

 

click image to enlarge

Don Kelly, right, is met at the dugout by Alex Avila after scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth inning for the Tigers in Game 2 of the American League division series on Sunday in Detroit. Kelly drove in the winning run in the ninth with a sacrifice fly to give Detroit a 2-0 series lead.

AP

DETROIT — A dropped fly, two wild pitches and a little smooch for the baseball by a relieved reliever.

Then Don Kelly brought it all to an end with a simple fly ball.

Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Sunday for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.

"Was looking for a fastball and I got it," Kelly said. "It's a great feeling. To be able to go out there in that situation and do that."

Detroit will go for a sweep of the division series matchup in Game 3 on Tuesday at Oakland.

"We just need to win a game," Oakland Manager Bob Melvin said. "If you start thinking about three games ahead, you lose your focus on Tuesday's game."

Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that resulted in a two-run error and later singled in the ninth.

The Tigers overcame three A's leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a big Oakland misplay, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.

It was the sixth straight postseason loss for the A's, all to Detroit. The Tigers swept Oakland in the 2006 AL Championship Series, winning the series on Magglio Ordonez's homer in Game 4 -- which was Detroit's last sudden-death postseason win before Sunday.

Omar Infante and Cabrera hit back-to-back singles off Grant Balfour with one out in the ninth. With men on first and third, Prince Fielder was intentionally walked, bringing up Kelly, who had stayed in the game as the designated hitter after pinch running the previous inning.

Kelly's fly to right was plenty deep enough to score Infante without a play at the plate.

It was tied at 4 after both teams made their share of mistakes in the seventh and eighth. Cliff Pennington gave the A's the lead with an RBI single in the seventh, but center fielder Coco Crisp dropped Cabrera's two-out flyball in the bottom half, allowing two runs to score.

Oakland tied it in the eighth on a wild pitch by Joaquin Benoit, and Josh Reddick followed with a solo homer to give the A's a 4-3 lead. Then it was Ryan Cook's turn to throw a tying wild pitch, allowing Kelly to score as a pinch runner.

Pennington nearly came through again for Oakland in the ninth, but his deep drive down the left-field line was just foul. With runners on first and third and two outs, Al Alburquerque got Yoenis Cespedes on grounder to the mound -- and it looked like the right-hander planted a little kiss on the ball before throwing to first after he fielded the comebacker.

On a drizzly day at Comerica Park, both teams were sloppy with the game on the line.

With runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh, Cabrera lifted a fly to center. Crisp, charging hard, tried to make a basket catch but bobbled the ball. He nearly recovered to make a falling grab, but the ball popped out of his glove and the Tigers took a 3-2 lead.

Cespedes led off the eighth with a single and stole second and third. With one out and the infield in, Benoit threw a wild pitch to allow the tying run. The worst was still to come for the Detroit reliever, who allowed Reddick's homer to right that put Oakland ahead 4-3.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


High School Football 2013

Fall Sports 2012

Purchase Photos

Find more photos >>