video thumbnail

OAK@DET Gm3: Parker, Sanchez to pitch pivotal Game 3

OAKLAND -- The second-most lethal offense in Major League Baseball, eclipsed only by the Red Sox, fell silent in Oakland. After a three-run first inning in Game 1, the Tigers were held scoreless for 17 innings.

Returning home for Game 3 on Monday (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, MLB Network), Miguel Cabrera and Co. hope to crank it up in an American League Division Series that is tied following a combined shutout by Sonny Gray and Grant Balfour in a 1-0 Game 2 victory by the A's.

"Any time you can throw 17 scoreless up against a team like that, it's a credit to our starters," said Balfour, whose scoreless ninth inning enabled him to claim the win in Game 2 when catcher Stephen Vogt drilled a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth.

Bartolo Colon held the Tigers in check after their three-run uprising was enough to secure a 3-2 decision in Game 1 behind Max Scherzer and relievers Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit.

"You expect more high-scoring games based on both offenses," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "but pitching can rule the day."

Detroit has the AL ERA champion, Anibal Sanchez, lined up for Game 3. He'll face Jarrod Parker in a duel of right-handers who can only hope to match the performances delivered by Gray and Justin Verlander in Game 2.

"It would have been nice to take two in Oakland," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said. "But they're a Major League ballclub, American League West champions. They're a professional team. We took one of two there, and we'll go home now and see if we can get it rolling."

The Tigers are hitting .219 in the series with a .254 on-base percentage and .250 slugging mark. Two doubles, by Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez in the first inning of Game 1 against Colon, are the only extra-base hits produced by Detroit in the 18 innings in Oakland.

The A's offense has been equally muted. They are hitting .174 with a .250 on-base percentage and .274 slugging percentage. Yoenis Cespedes has tripled and homered, with four hits in eight at-bats, as the leader of the attack.

Seth Smith drilled a pair of singles as the designated hitter in Game 2 and could be a factor against the all-righty Detroit rotation moving forward.

Cabrera, playing through groin and abdominal pain, singled in each of the two games in Oakland and has reached base safely in all 26 of his career postseason games.

"The guy is dangerous regardless, and no matter if he has his legs under him or not," Melvin said. "He hits the ball hard up the middle, as he has both games. And you're always thinking about where he is in the lineup."

Hunter marvels at Cabrera's ability to drive the ball to all fields.

"Miggy is amazing," Hunter said. "He hit [.348] with one or two infield hits all season. That's unbelievable, when you think about it. He'd love to be able to run, but that's not what he's here for -- he's here to hit. And when he gets rolling, look out."

Hunter was 1-for-7 in Oakland, the one hit a bunt single. He led the AL with 17 game-winning RBIs and flourished at Comerica Park, batting .333 compared to .274 on the road.

"I'm a better hitter now than I've ever been," Hunter said. "I want to be up there with the game on the line. Most athletes who have that edge want to have the responsibility in those situations."

Prince Fielder, the Tigers' cleanup man, was quiet in Games 1 and 2, delivering a single in eight at-bats. Martinez, 2-for-8 in Oakland, led the AL with a .361 batting average after the All-Star break.

Replacing Andy Dirks in left field for Game 2, Don Kelly delivered a pair of singles in three at-bats. Kelly, like Smith with the A's, could be a factor in the series against Oakland's all-righty rotation. Comments