"No smoking zone? You gotta be KIDDING me."
The tension was palpable: Could the Tigers, having clinched the AL Central last night, re-clinch it again today? The answer turned out to be no, and as a result Detroit must settle for a single clinch, while the A's take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Oakland scored early on Rick Porcello, with a two-run 2nd inning rally started by Brandon Allen's single, featuring RBI hits from Scott Sizemore and Coco Crisp. The A's then added on in the 3rd with Kurt Suzuki's sacrifice fly. Meanwhile Gio Gonzalez, like Trevor Cahill yesterday, was in and out of trouble throughout the early and middle innings, but in contrast to Cahill, Gio wobbled but was never really knocked down. A single run in the 6th, cutting the A's lead to 3-1, was the only tally off of Gonzalez in his 7 IP of 8 hit, 1 ER ball. Gonzalez becomes a 14-game winner (14-12) with an impressive 3.33 ERA.
The A's added two insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th and good thing, because Andrew Bailey was scored upon twice in the 9th -- the 7th time in his last 13 appearances that Bailey has allowed a run. Ruh-roh.
To win the series, the A's will have to overcome Justin Verlander, who will take a 23-5 record into tomorrow's start. One of the 5 losses was, however, to the A's.