Play of the Game!
Some days, the breaks just go your way. That's the best way to describe the game this morning. An Austin Jackson misplay on a knuckling line drive to CF by George Kotteras proved to the difference in the game, as the A's stole this game from the Tigers to avoid the sweep.
The 1st inning looked like it was going to be a repeat of the last 3 games. After Jackson struck out swinging, Omar Infante doubled and Tommy Milone (definitely RoadMilone today) walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Just like during his start in Cleveland, though, Milone got the fortuitous double play, this time off the bat of Delmon Young. The 2nd inning wasn't any better, and Tigers finally did break through. Singles by Jhonny Peralta, Avisail Garcia put two on and none out to set up the sacrifice for Andy Dirks. A Gerald Laird single brought him the first run, and a Jackson sacrifice fly plated the 2nd to make it 2-0.
Meanwhile, the A's were being set down in order by Anibal Sanchez through 2. Their 1st run was scored in the 3rd on a throwing error by Infante on a sure double play ball. Again, luck going the A's way. In the 5th, Seth Smith proceeded to launch a home run to tie it in the top half, but Milone gave it right back in the bottom half on a Cabrera single and a Fielder double, and left after giving up a Delmon Young single. Pat Neshek came on, however, and this time did the job. He got Garcia to pop out harmlessly to Cliff Pennington to end the inning. The 6th inning, however, is where the A's really put the game away. After a Yoenis Cespedes single to CF, Brandon Moss doubled to the RF corner, and the ball was misplayed by Garcia to allow Cespedes to score to tie it at 3-all. After a Carter K (he's looked pitiful lately), and a curious IBB to Smith, Josh Donaldson gave the A's the lead on a sharp single to LF. Then, George Kotteras hit the "triple" mentioned above, allowing Donaldson and Smith to score without a throw.
It was a bullpen game after this, and today the A's relievers were up to task. Jerry Blevins took the ball in the 6th, and after allowing an HR to Dirks, got Laird to flyout. Ryan Cook took the ball, and then got 5 quick, clean outs. I wasn't watching today, but it sure sounded like he had the slider working. Not to be outdone, Sean Doolittle came in to strike out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the 8th. The A's would tack on 6 insurance runs in the 9th on a Cespedes SF, a bases-loaded Daric Barton BB special, and a huge bases-clearing double by Seth Smith to make it comfortably 11-4. Donaldson tacked on an opposite field double for good measure and get the A's to dozen territory.
So, in a must-win gave for the A's, they did manage to pull it out and end the mini-losing streak. Huzzah! Not that it gets any easier, but I think the A's will be glad to see the towers of Manhattan and get out of the hellhole that is Comerica Park. Tomorrow, it'll be Jarrod Parker pitching the biggest game of his life against the Yankees and CC Sabathia. First pitch is at 4:05.