Tigers fall to Athletics in the bottom of the ninth in a tense contest
Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Detroit Tigers failed to score a run in Game 2 and will head back to Detroit tied with the Athletics 1-1 in the American League Division Series.
The Athletics scored a 1-0 walkoff win in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday night at O.co Coliseum. Stephen Vogt singled to drive in the winning run off Rick Porcello.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left off Al Alburquerque. Cespedes advanced to third on Seth Smith’s single to right. The Tigers intentionally walked Josh Reddick to load the bases, then brought Porcello in to pitch to Vogt.
A sellout crowd of 48,292 was treated to the best pitching duel of the young postseason.
Rookie right-hander Sonny Gray gave the A’s eight shutout innings. He allowed four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.
Justin Verlander gave the Tigers seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and one walk and struck out 11.
Lefty Drew Smyly took over in the eighth inning for the Tigers and gave up a leadoff double to right to pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo. After Coco Crisp popped out in foul territory, Smyly gave up a walk to Jed Lowrie.
Al Alburquerque took over for Smyly and got Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss to each strike out swinging.
The Tigers failed to score a runner from second in the top of the eighth. Don Kelly led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Iglesias. Austin Jackson was called out on strikes and Torii Hunter popped out to first base.
The Athletics didn’t have a runner advance past second base until the seventh inning. Brandon Moss, who had struck out in his first two at-bats, reached on a leadoff walk. With two outs, Josh Reddick singled to right. Torii Hunter caught the ball on a hop and made a throw to third that was off the mark. Stephen Vogt struck out swinging on a 98 m.p.h. fastball from Verlander to end a 10-pitch at-bat.
The Tigers’ best scoring chance came in the fifth, when they stranded a runner at third. Omar Infante led off the fifth with a walk, advanced to second on a ground out and went to third on an infield single by Jose Iglesias.
Austin Jackson had a 3-0 count before following off two pitches. Gray then got to strike out swinging on a 94 m.p.h. fastball. then striking out on A’s catcher Stephen Vogt then threw to second base to nab Jose Iglesias as he attempted a steal.
Both starting pitchers benefited from a overly generous strike zone by home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor in the first couple of innings.
Verlander retired the first 11 hitters he faced until Donaldson ripped a two-out single to center in the fourth inning.
Crisp and Jed Lowrie were called out on strikes before Donaldson’s single.
Verlander got another called strike to end the inning as Moss looked at a curve. It was Verlander’s seventh strikeout through four innings, with six coming on called strikes.
Even Verlander looked surprised when Bucknor called Seth Smith out on a ball out of the strike zone to end the second inning. Smith seemed to be in disbelief.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin came out and had a few words with Bucknor between innings.
Bucknor’s strike zone benefited Gray too, though. Gray struck out the side in the third inning, getting Jackson looking on a ball that also appeared out of the strike zone.
Torii Hunter took exception to a high and tight pitch from Gray. That fired up an already excitable crowd and they went into chants of “Tor-ii! Tor-ii!”.
Hunter had similarly taken a high and tight pitch from Bartolo Colon on Friday night, only to be hit one pitch later.
Against Gray, Hunter and Miguel Cabrera each struck out swinging.
©2013 Detroit Free Press
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