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Big League Stew

ALDS Game 4: Tigers offense comes alive to beat A’s 8-6 with the help of a controversial home run call

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

The Detroit Tigers finally got some offense and it kept them alive in their ALDS series with the Oakland Athletics. The Tigers won 8-6, cracking open the game with five runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The offensive outburst included a controversial home run by Victor Martinez that tied the game in the seventh inning.

The Tigers had only scored six runs in the series leading into Tuesday's Game 4. Now the series is tied 2-2 and it heads back to Oakland for a decisive Game 5 where Justin Verlander will take the mound for Detroit.

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• Victor Martinez hit a seventh-inning solo homer to tie the game for the Tigers. It was Martinez who was in the middle of that benches-clearing stare down with A's closer Grant Balfour on Monday. The home run was disputed, as a fan interfered with the ball as Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick jumped to try to catch it. The umpire crew reviewed the play and upheld the home-run call.

• Austin Jackson had a clutch base hit to put the Tigers ahead in the seventh inning. It was only his second hit of the series. He struck out in his three previous at-bats Tuesday, giving him 10 in 14 at-bats during this ALDS. The RBI single saved him from our "head hangers" section.

• Jhonny Peralta's three-run homer in the fifth inning tied the game at three. He then doubled in the seventh inning after Martinez's homer. Andy Dirks, after pinch-running for Peralta, scored what was the go-ahead run at the time.

Max Scherzer, pitching as a reliever, did a spectacular job in the eighth inning of escaping a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam. He struck out Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt back-to-back, then got Alberto Callaspo to fly out to center.

• Jed Lowrie drove in the first three runs for the A's on an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the fifth inning. He didn't have a hit in the series before that single.

• Coco Crisp continued to be the hottest hitter for the A's. He had four hits, scored three runs and drove in another.

• The A's bullpen allowed the Tigers to score for the first time this series. Sean Doolittle gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh inning. Then Ryan Cook and Brett Anderson allowed three more runs in the eighth.

• A's slugger Brandon Moss was 0-for-4, including a ground out in the ninth inning.

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• Martinez's game-tying homer. Not only did it change the tide of the game, but it's unclear whether the umpires made the correct call. Take away the fan reaching for the ball and there's a chance Reddick catches it.

• Omar Infante gave the Tigers two welcome insurance runs with a double in the eighth inning that made the score 8-4.

The Tigers hadn't hit a home run since Sept. 24 before hitting two on Tuesday.

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• Scherzer's eighth-inning stand with the bases-loaded. It was edge-of-your-seat baseball, and it validated skipper Jim Leyland's call to use Scherzer out of the bullpen.

• Whether the A's can beat the Tigers in a Game 5 in Oakland this year. The two teams played in an identical situation last year with the Tigers winning 6-0.

With their win, the Tigers force a Game 5 that will happen Thursday at 9:07 p.m. ET in Oakland. Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers. The Athletics' scheduled starter is Bartolo Colon. The A's could decide to start Sonny Gray again, who dueled with Verlander in Game 2. Verlander beat the A's in last year's ALDS Game 5.

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