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Live Blogging: A’s @ Tigers Game 3 ALDS

October 7, 2013

A’s need to win one of the next two games in Comerica Park or this series is done – might as well win this one. Jarrod Parker is on the hill for an early game against Anibal Sanchez. Got to say that I loved the MLB Network intro to this game, the Field of Dreams intro was great and Matt Vasgersian and Jim Kaat are a good crew too. Looks like a nice day in Detroit, I miss the Michigan weather this time of year so hopefully the A’s can send the Tigers’ fans home to enjoy a nice crisp day of raking leaves or looking out over their lake with some warm cider.

10:08AM PDT – Top of 1st, 0 out – Great start for the A’s as Coco Crisp lines it into the gap in right field past the reach of a diving Torii Hunter. Leadoff double. With the offensive woes that is a nice change to see to start a game. It’d be good to get to Sanchez and get a run in and sort of break that mental roadblock that run scoring seems to have been thus far this series.

10:10AM PDT – Top of 1st, 1 out – Awesome to hear Kaat acknowledge that Josh Donaldson has “MVP credentials” as he put it. The crew in Oakland neglected to mention that fawning over Miguel Cabrera, who Donaldson grounds out to, keeping Coco stranded on second.

10:11AM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Some warning track power was exhibited by Jed Lowrie there. Nice toss from Torii but Coco gets into third no problem. So a “productive out”. While I don’t buy into that whole theory, this out is better than one I suppose where Crisp doesn’t advance, but is it really a big deal if he goes from second to third? I am not entirely sure it makes a huge difference. Brandon Moss isn’t about to get a run scoring infield hit.

10:15AM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – I guess there is some value in having Coco on third. Alex Avila nearly lost a pitch in that sequence to Moss which could have been a passed ball that would’ve scored a run with consequential passed ball/wild pitches being something these two clubs saw a lot in Detroit in last year’s ALDS.

10:16AM PDT – Top of 1st, 2 out – Good job by Moss to battle back and draw the walk. The A’s need to keep making sure that they don’t give any clean innings to Sanchez. Don’t let him get into a groove the way Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander did. Things just snowball and look more impossible when that happens. That sort of is what happened with Bartolo Colon in Game One, the Tigers rattled him but he recouped. This could be the A’s shot at Sanchez.

10:18AM PDT – Top of 1st, 3 out – Here we go again with the strikeouts? Sanchez gets Yoenis Cespedes to swing and miss with some high heat to end the threat.

10:23AM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 1 out – Beautiful changeup from Parker to get Austin Jackson to go fishing. Jackson is having a miserable series (1-for-8 and 5 Ks) and he is a tough one for Parker to face (.545/.583/1.000 with a HR, 1 BB and 2 Ks in 12 plate appearances).

10:24PM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – First pitch swinging and Hunter grounds out to Donaldson at third.

10:25AM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 2 out – Cabrera laces one down the left field into the corner. With Cabrera hurting that is a very very long single. Normally a no doubt double.

10:27AM PDT – Bottom of 1st, 3 out – Infield fly out for Prince Fielder and the inning and any threat is neutralized. Good quick inning for Parker with the damage limited to a Cabrera single. Can’t ever complain about getting beat by Cabrera and a single is particularly kind.

10:31AM PDT – Top of 2nd, 0 out – Base hit from Seth Smith into right field. Smith has had a ton of success (7-for-19 with 3 HRs, 2 BBs and 4 Ks) against Sanchez so that continues. He could be a key piece for the A’s in this one. Good to have back to back innings with base hits. It seems like a deluge the way this series has gone thus far.

10:33AM PDT – Top of 2nd, 1 out - Josh Reddick flies it out the warning track in left field and Jhonny Peralta circled under it some but it landed in his glove. Looks like it could be interesting out there for him with some winds and the bright sky.

10:35AM PDT – Top of 2nd, 2 out - Stephen Vogt goes fishing. At least the A’s aren’t averaging a K every other batter.

10:36AM PDT – Top of 2nd, 3 out – Fly out from Eric Sogard to Peralta in left. I love that Peralta called off Jackson to get it. Getting brave out there.

10:43AM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 1 out - Victor Martinez hits it to left field opposite field and a relative long way that Cespedes had to go to get to it but he did.

10:44AM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 2 out – Ground out for Peralta. So on defense he is doing fine, on offense he has contributed nothing yet. Love how baseball can be that way.

10:45AM PDT – Bottom of 2nd, 3 out – 1-2-3 as Avila hits it right into the shift at Sogie. Another good quick inning for Parker who is off to a good start. Nineteen straight scoreless innings for A’s pitchers.

10:50AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Coco plunks it into shallow center. Another inning with the A’s getting a leadoff hit. Eventually that results in runs so it is a good way to start off every inning.

10:53AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Stolen base for Coco! Really didn’t look safe to be honest though the replay makes the call look a bit better. Crisp was 21 of 26 this year (80.8%) and that is his first steal of the postseason.

10:54AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 0 out – Donaldson draws a walk so it is first and second with no one out. This is a lot more offense than we have seen these past few days. Sanchez is not look so hot. The A’s might be able to get into the more porous Tigers bullpen faster than expected.

10:57AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 1 out – Tough strikeout for Lowrie. Ball looked inside but you can’t let a pitch that close go. Tough series for Lowrie who now is 0-for-9 in the ALDS.

10:59AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Another Moss strikeout – his seventh of the series – and Sanchez’ fourth.

11:01AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 2 out – Cabrera is not a great fielder and he shows it off on that play with the ball skipping over his glove and into left field. Coco scores from second. I have to assume that is scored an error and so no RBI for Cespedes. A’s up 1-0!

11:05AM PDT – Top of 3rd, 3 out – He battled and the pitch count for Sanchez goes up but ultimately Smith strikes out, and as has always been the case driving up pitch counts doesn’t necessarily win ballgames. The A’s plate one in the inning and that is a commanding lead as far as this series is concerned.

11:10AM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 1 out – Fly out from Omar Infante into right field. Five in a row set down for Parker.

11:12AM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 2 out – Jose Iglesias is really fast. A routine grounder to Lowrie who didn’t really have to move and Iglesias made the play somewhat close.

11:13AM PDT – Bottom of 3rd, 3 out – 1-2-3 inning. Nice play by Lowrie to get the ball spin and throw out Jackson at first. Parker is looking locked in. Good to see as he is now pitching with a lead.

11:17AM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – A’s continue to get the lead off hitter on base. Well, they don’t get the lead off hitter on base as Reddick takes Anibal deep over the right field fence and head of Hunter. Sanchez led the league with HR/9 this year at just 0.4 (that was nine he allowed all year), so nice work by Josh to take him yard.

11:18AM PDT – Top of 4th, 0 out – The A’s remember that every Vogt counts. Vogt almost got it out of the park too but it hit against the wall and then took a weird carom and just rolled to Jackson and Vogt manages to get a triple. Vogt had one triple during the season – go figure. In 2011 split between Montgomery and Durham he had seven triples, so there you have that.

11:20AM PDT – Top of 4th, 1 out – Ugh. Sogard. Infield is playing in and the ground out to Infante at second keeps Vogt stuck at third. Meanwhile Rick Porcello is warming up for the Tigers out in the bullpen. Sanchez has not looked sharp but he also hasn’t looked “dump him in the fourth inning” bad.

11:21AM PDT – Top of 4th, 2 out – Coco lofts it to left field. Peralta settles under it. Vogt goes for it. Not a pretty play in the least but Peralta shows off a bad arm and Vogt beats the throw. A’s up 3-0.

11:22AM PDT – Top of 4th, 3 out – Donaldson flies out to Hunter in right field to end the inning. A’s up with three runs matching their total from all the games in Oakland.

11:27AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 0 out – Good solid base hit from Hunter into left field to open the Tigers’ fourth inning. Breaks up seven straight set down by Parker who has to be careful now with the meat of Detroit’s order due up.

11:29AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Cabrera smacked that one and with most other guys I’d be thinking it is the fans overreacting that is an outfield fly but with Cabrera you just never know, it might keep going and going. But alas it falls into Coco’s glove for a loud out number one.

11:34AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Interesting stat they provided that Fielder has the longest consecutive game streak in baseball at 505 games. If anyone added his name into a four answer multiple choice and none of the others are obvious and frequent DL visitors I don’t think I’d ever pick Prince. But it isn’t the consecutive games mark that mattered here it was Fielder’s opposite field hit that got Hunter to third. Donaldson had a nice give it his all attempt in the middle of a very good at bat from Prince, and thankfully didn’t injure himself as feet and knees met wall. This is the first mess for Parker really, Martinez is a good candidate for a double play however that could help Oakland exit this jam.

11:36AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – It is loud in Detroit. Martinez hits it past Moss at first. Hunter scores and Fielder goes to third. Detroit cuts down the Oakland lead to 3-1.

11:38AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 1 out – Peralta makes his manager Jim Leyland look good with a base hit to left field towards the corner that is good enough to score both Fielder and Martinez and tie this game at three. In one inning Detroit matches their run total from their past two games now.

11:42PM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 2 out – Nice play by Donaldson on a check swing that resulted in a ground out from Avila. Peralta advanced to second and into scoring position on the play as Parker needs to get Infante to end the inning.

11:44AM PDT – Bottom of 4th, 3 out – Damage is done. Tigers tie it. But on his 26th pitch of the inning Parker gets Infante to ground out and end the frame.

11:49AM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Sixth strikeout of the game for Sanchez as he gets Lowrie down on strikes. This is the first inning where the A’s have failed to get the leadoff runner on base.

11:51AM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Finally! Moss launches one. Hunter just stops dead in his tracks doesn’t even move. No doubter. Silenced the Comerica crowd. Half way up the right field bleacher which I will tell you from having been there is a long way. A’s regain the lead at 4-3. Remember Sanchez had just 0.4 HR/9 this season. Second of the game. Sanchez last gave up two home runs in a game September 9th, 2012 in Anaheim when Mike Trout and  current Athletic but then Angel Alberto Callaspo took him deep.

11:53AM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Base hit for Yoenis Cespedes as the A’s keep hard on Sanchez who is at 96 pitches now.

11:59AM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out – Wow. Great at bat from Smith. Smith was the Sanchez killer and with that the A’s have their third home run of the ballgame off Sanchez who is booted from the ballgame. Opposite field into the bullpen in left. What could’ve been a fly out when the stadium opened in 2000 (I sat out that way for the first ever game at Comerica Park), but what is a two run home run that gives Oakland a 6-3 lead today! Sanchez last gave up three home runs in one game in his Tigers debut on July 28th, 2012 in Toronto when he gave up dingers to Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar and Colby Rasmus. Final line on Sanchez: four and third innings, six runs, five of them earned, on eight hits (including the three home runs) and two walks with six strikeouts adding up to an ugly 10.38 ERA and uglier 10.66 FIP.

12:02PM PDT – Top of 5th, 1 out- New pitcher is the lefty Jose Alvarez. Alvarez got into 14 games for the Tigers (six of them starts) throwing 38 2/3 innings of 5.82 ERA, 5.19 FIP baseball backed by 7.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 1.6 HR/9. With the way the ball is carrying this afternoon, that 1.6 HR/9 could come into play. Hey if a guy with 0.4 HR/9 gets tagged for three what happens to a guy already tagged for 1.6 HR/9?

12:04PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – The lefty on lefty works as Alvarez K’s Reddick.

12:06PM PDT – Top of 5th, 2 out – Vogt draws a walk from Alvarez. Interesting to see that Bob Melvin didn’t pinch hit for him there.

12:07PM PDT – Top of 5th, 3 out – Fly out for Sogard to end the inning. A’s double their run total and get back Detroit’s runs hopefully breaking their spirit a little and leading to victory.

12:10PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – Fly out to left field from Iglesias to Cespedes. Parker needs a 1-2-3 to really shut down the Tigers here and get the A’s offense back on the field and Leyland’s bullpen back on their heels.

12:13PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 1 out – There goes any hope of a 1-2-3 as Parker loses the handle and walks Jackson. Not a guy to put on, not that anyone really is. Parker has got himself out of jams previously and can do so again.

12:15PM PDT – Bottom of 5th, 3 out – Big double play. 5-4-3. Hunter grounds out and the threat is gone. Nice to have Cabrera up with the bases empty as opposed to anyone on. Huge play.

12:18PM PDT – Top of 6th, 1 out – Iglesias makes a nice play to get Coco. Interesting that Kaat is complimenting the fielding of Derek Jeter to compare Iglesias given that there is much discussion that Jeter is absurdly overrated. I agree that Jeter is overrated but Iglesias really is not. He is the real deal. For Oakland meanwhile Dan Otero is warming in the bullpen. Rick Porcello is still warming for the Tigers.

12:21PM PDT – Top of 6th, 2 out – Ball really is carrying as Donaldson lofts one to the right center warning track for a long out number two.

12:23PM PDT – Top of 6th, 3 out – Lowrie’s woes continue as he flies out to right field to end the inning.

12:25PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 0 out – Otero is in. Parker is out. Parker threw just 73 pitches (47 for strikes) in five innings of three earned run, five hit, one walk and one K baseball. Otero meanwhile, pitched to four batters in Game One and retired them all.

12:26PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Cabrera grounds out to Lowrie. I gotta say I think Lowrie is underrated (total eyeball comment) as a defender though both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference disagree with me.

12;29PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 1 out – Base hit right up the middle for Fielder. Lowrie nearly got to that. Maybe going back to Jeter it is like the difference between Jeter and Brendan Ryan where Jeter has trouble getting to things so he makes it look great, whereas Ryan makes a lot of tough plays look routine.

12:30PM PDT – Bottom of 6th, 3 out – 3-6 double play. Weird double play but well done by Moss who stepped on the bag to retire Martinez then tossed it to Lowrie who made a nice pick to apply the tag to Fielder. Inning over. Nice play.

12:34PM PDT – Top of 7th, 1 out – Moss goes down swinging again. His moon shot home run means it is all forgiven.

12:37PM PDT – Top of 7th, 2 out – I was surprised to see Leyland leave Alvarez in against Cespedes with Porcello apparently warm in the bullpen. Alvarez was a starter in MiLB and as mentioned earlier started six games for Detroit this year so he clearly has to face guys regardless of their handedness. But still you have Porcello ready, why not? Well Leyland proves me wrong, as does Alvarez I suppose, as he K’s Cespedes.

12:38PM PDT – Top of 7th, 3 out – Smith grounds out to second base to end the inning. It is stretch time in Detroit.

12:41PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 1 out – Great play by Moss right there on a very tough short hop. Peralta is set down on the first pitch of the seventh. A’s are cruising.

12:44PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Kaat and Vasgersian are all caught up talking about shifts on Avila. Otero makes them all moot with a strikeout.

12:45PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 2 out – Base hit to right field for Infante. Third hit in the series for Infante who has quietly had a decent series.

12:46PM PDT – Bottom of 7th, 3 out – Another nice play by Donaldson to field the broken bat infield hit and throw out that speedy Iglesias at first. Nice play by Moss too to corral a throw that was a little high.

12:49PM PDT – Top of 8th, 1 out – Reddick flies out as Alvarez is still on the hill for the Tigers. Meanwhile the A’s have Sean Doolittle warming in the bullpen.

12:50PM PDT- Top of 8th, 1 out – Derek Norris comes in to pinch hit and Leyland pulls Alvarez to get the righty Jose Veras in. Norris has been a great pinch hitter for Oakland but with a 3-for-15 line one might not think that is all that great. All three of those hits were home runs and furthermore Norris has yet to strike out and has drawn three walks. Veras meanwhile split this season between Houston and Detroit where has put up a combined ERA of 3.02, FIP of 3.62, along with 8.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 62 2/3 innings. He has 25 shutdowns to nine meltdowns not that that really is in play in this game.

12:54PM PDT – Top of 8th, 2 out – Well Norris has his first strikeout as a pinch hitter in 2013.

12:57PM PDT – Top of 8th, 3 out – Sogard grounds out to Fielder who runs it to first to end the inning.

1:00PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 0 out – Norris is now catching for the A’s and he is catching a new pitcher as Doolittle comes out. Doolittle pitched an inning and two thirds in Game One striking out three of the six batters he faced. He comes in to face the top of the Tigers order. The shutdowns and meltdowns have some relevance to this Doolittle outing so on the year he has a 28:10 ratio.

1:01PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 1 out – Doolittle K’s Jackson. Four of seven he has faced down on Ks.

1:04PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 1 out – Full count and Hunter draws a walk from Doolittle with an inside pitch. Doesn’t get easy for Doolittle now as he has to face Cabrera.

1:05PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 2 out – Great pitch from Doolittle who hurls a high fastball that Cabrera falls for and pops up to first base for the inning’s first out. The air comes out of the proverbial balloon.

1:07PM PDT – Bottom of 8th, 3 out – A leap and Lowrie comes down with the Fielder hit that looked destined for short left center field. Inning over.

1:12PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Leadoff double for Coco. His second double of the game into the right field corner. It’d be nice to see a few insurance runs here rendering a Grant Balfour (who is warming in the pen) outing meaningless as far as a save is concerned.

1:13PM PDT – Top of 9th, 0 out – Iglesias ranges far to his right on a ball in the hole and then loses his footing and it’ll be an infield hit for Donaldson. Albeit one that keeps Coco planted at second base. Nice opportunity to get a few runs though and put this game away.

1:17PM PDT – Top of 9th, 1 out – Luke Putkonen is throwing for Detroit if this one gets out of hand and Ryan Cook is doing the same for the A’s. Hat trick meanwhile for Lowrie striking out yet again. Still 0-fer in the series.

1:19PM PDT – Top of 9th, 2 out – Veras is recovering nicely from a sloppy start to the inning as he K’s Moss as well.

1:23PM PDT – Top of 9th, 3 out – Weird play. Cespedes grounded out to Cabrera who thought of tagging out Coco but then didn’t. With that slight hesitation it seems a full speed running Cespedes could have made it. Hopefully that oversight does not become an issue as this game continues.

1:26PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Balfour is in to lock down the save. 33 shutdowns with five meltdowns on the season for him. Balfour earned the victory in Game Two, after he pitched a perfect ninth inning with the game tied. To shore up the defense Melvin puts Daric Barton over at first base. Due up for Detroit: Martinez, Peralta and Avila.

1:29PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 0 out – Well now. Something happened there. Unclear what it was. Something happened and Martinez and Balfour started yelling “f**k you bitch” at one another. Benches clear! In the playoffs no less! Wow! Don’t like this for the A’s. Need to just have everything be calm and get it all done. Strange. BALFOUR RAGE.

1:31PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 1 out – And Martinez lines out to Reddick. Drama over. Sit down. Take a seat.

1:35PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 2 out – Balfour elevated and Peralta chased. Strikeout. BALFOUR RAGE.

1:38PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 2 out – Balfour gets Avila down 0-2, but Avila fights back and draws a walk. Tying run still on deck for Detroit with Infante at the plate but Don Kelly and not Iglesias on deck.

1:40PM PDT – Bottom of 9th, 3 out – Fly out to right field. A’s win. A’s take a 2-1 lead. In the past ten times there has been a tie 1-1 series, the team that has won Game Three has won nine times so things look good for Detroit. Wonder if Leyland goes to Scherzer for Game Four or if he sticks with Doug Fister?

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