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A's 4, Tigers 3

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND -- The Comeback Kids did it again Wednesday night.

Down to their final three outs, the Oakland A's rallied to score three times in the ninth inning to beat the ready-to-celebrate Detroit Tigers 4-3 in Game 4 to force a deciding game in their American League Division Series.

Closer Jose Valverde, the sixth Detroit pitcher, surrendered a first-pitch single to Coco Crisp with two outs in the final inning to score Seth Smith from second base. Smith had doubled in Josh Reddick and Josh Donaldson with no one out.

The A's cut into the Tigers' 2-0 lead in the sixth inning and chased Detroit starter Max Scherzer in the process.

Crisp won a 10-pitch battle to lead off and found himself at second base after Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder booted his grounder into foul territory behind the bag. After advancing on a wild pitch, Crisp trotted home on Stephen Drew's ringing double to the wall in right-center.

Drew was cut down at third trying to stretch only the third hit off of Scherzer into a triple. Detroit second baseman Omar Infante relayed Austin Jackson's throw from the outfield to Miguel Cabrera, who applied the tag on Drew, who was acting on third-base coach Mike Gallego's gamble.

Detroit built its lead back to two runs in the eighth when pinch-hitting rookie outfielder Avisail Garcia punchef a single through the right side to score Infante from second with one out.

The A's threatened with two outs in the eighth, but Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit struck out Brandon Moss with runners on first and second.

The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the third, breaking through against A's rookie starter A.J. Griffin.

Catcher Alex Avila pulled a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner for a leadoff double. Following Infante's sacrifice bunt, Jackson hit a run-scoring single into left field.

Detroit tacked on a run an inning later when Fielder jumped on a high 0-2 fastball to hit a tape-measure home run to right field. Fielder was just 1-for-13 in the series before collecting his first long ball and first RBI.

Griffin surrendered consecutive singles to Delmon Young and Andy Dirks later in the fourth, but pitched out of the none-out jam by inducing Jhonny Peralta to ground into a double play and getting Avila to fly out to left.

Scherzer, meanwhile, was in complete control early. The only blemish through four innings was a two-out, first-inning single to left by Yoenis Cespedes. Scherzer struck out five of the first eight A's he faced and needed only five pitches to retire the hosts 1-2-3 in the fourth.

A walk to Smith with two outs in the fifth snapped a streak of 12 straight retired by Scherzer, who permitted a single to Derek Norris but struck out Cliff Pennington to strand two.

NOTES: Scherzer had allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his 10 outings before Game 4, going 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA over that stretch. ... The A's had won seven of Griffin's eight home starts before Wednesday. This time last year he had just completed pitching in the Class A California League playoffs. ... Super middleweight boxing champion and Oakland native Andre Ward threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 4.
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