The Tigers were three outs away from heading back to the American League Championship Series. Instead they're going to have to return to the Oakland Coliseum for a decisive Game 5 after the amazing Athletics manufactured a dramatic ninth-inning rally against closer Jose Valverde for a 4-to-3 victory over Detroit. Valverde was handed a 3-to-1 lead but faltered, giving up 3 consecutive hits to begin the ninth, including a 2-run double by Seth Smith to tie the score. Valverde retired the next two batters, but Coco Crisp grounded the first pitch he saw to right. Smith hustled around third and scored without a throw because Avisail Garcia couldn't field the ball cleanly. The game ended at one o’clock this morning, our time and it will be another late one tonight with a 9:37 start once again. Max Scherzer did his part last night, limiting the A's to three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts over 5-and-a-third innings. The Tiger runs scored on RBI singles by Garcia and Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder’s solo home run.
Tiger ace Justin Verlander, who was the winner in Game One of this series on Saturday at Comerica Park, goes to the mound tonight for Detroit. Verlander will face Oakland’s Game One pitcher, Jarrod Parker.
The game five survivor will face either the Yankees or the Orioles in the American League Championship Series. Last night in New York, the Yankees beat Baltimore 3-to-2 in 12-innings to take a 2-games-to-1 series lead. In the National League playoffs, the Giants stayed alive by forcing a Game 5 with the Reds with an 8-to-3 victory at Cincinnati. And the Cardinals have taken a 2-to-1 lead over the Nationals with St. Louis winning 8-to-0 Wednesday at Washington.