Facing elimination at Comerica Park in Detroit, the Tigers knew their backs were up against the wall. The Oakland A’s were looking to close out the series and return home with the ability to rest easy as they geared up for the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. Well, the Tigers had other plans and refused to back down, rallying to tie the series and force an elimination game five with an 8-6 victory on Tuesday.
Down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, it was beginning to look as if the season would come to an end for the home team. And then the magic began. Jhonny Peralta, back from his 50 game suspension, stepped into the batter’s box with two men on base ahead of him. He connected with a pitch and drove it down the alley in left center field and over the wall. It was their first home run of the series, and it tied the score.
Suddenly Detroit had life.
That new life was again tested when Coco Crisp singled home a run to put the A’s back out in front with a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. 21 game winning pitcher Max Scherzer was in line to start game five for the Tigers, but was called into action on Tuesday in a relief role. Although he gave up a run and the lead in the seventh, he would remain in the ball game and give a noble performance to keep his team in the ball game.
When it was the Tigers turn to bat in the seventh, the controversy began. Victor Martinez drove a ball over the wall in right for the team’s second home run of the series. Tie game. However it appears that fans could have played a role in making the ball carry over the fence. While the A’s leapt to make the catch, fans reached out their hands and caught the ball instead.
Crisp and right fielder Josh Reddick protested the call as soon as it was signaled. “I have no doubt I was going to catch that ball. When I looked at the replay, that’s what I thought,” Reddick said. “It’s totally frustrating that a fan can influence the game.”
Maintaining that the correct decision had been made upon review, crew chief Gary Darling explained that “it was clear he was not going to catch the ball, so it was clearly going to be a home run. There wasn’t any other evidence on replay to turn it another way.”
Another RBI in the seventh by Jackson would give the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
In the A’s half of the eighth inning, it appeared that the pendulum would again swing in favor of the visiting team. Bases loaded with no outs, the lead was within reach for the A’s. However Scherzer had other plans, digging deep and pitching his way out of the worst of jams.
For the first time in his career, Scherzer did not allow a run in a zero out, bases loaded situation.
Add in three more Tiger runs in the eighth inning, and Detroit was able to pull away in game four and even the series with what would end up being an 8-6 victory over the A’s.
This series will come down to one final game, things have heated up quite a bit in this one. Can’t wait for game five.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express