DETROIT - Don Kelly is no longer an afterthought.
Not in Detroit and not in Oakland, either.
Pinch-runner Kelly, placed on the Tigers' post-season roster over harder-hitting but struggling Brennan Boesch, scored the tying run from third base on a wild pitch in the eighth inning and drove in the winning run in the ninth with a one-out bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right that gave Detroit a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Sunday.
The win gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five American League Division series.
The series shifts to Oakland for Game 3 on Tuesday and two more possible games on Wednesday and Thursday if the A's can keep the series alive.
Kelly was sent in to pinch-run after Delmon Young opened the eighth with a single to center. Jhonny Peralta singled and Andy Dirks sacrificed both runners up to give Detroit a chance to score the tying run from third with one out. Quintin Berry struck out while pinch-hitting for rookie Avisail Garcia, but reliever Ryan Cook threw a wild pitch that let the tying run come in.
Omar Infante singled with one out in the ninth off losing reliever Grant Balfour and Miguel Cabrera, batting for the first time in the game with runners on base, looped a single to center that put runners at first and third.
Prince Fielder was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Kelly, after taking a first-pitch curve for a strike, ripped a fastball to right that was caught but was too deep to get Infante racing in from third with the winning run.
Oakland took a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth after Detroit setup man Joaquin Benoit wild-pitched home the tying run from third with Josh Reddick at the plate. His next pitch was a second straight changeup that Reddick, who had fanned six times previously in the series, lashed over the wall in right to make it 4-3.
Benoit has now allowed 15 home runs this season.
Center fielder Coco Crisp's error on Cabrera's soft two-out fly to center in the seventh let two runs score and momentarily made him the goat of the game. Crisp broke back on the ball then failed to make a basket catch running in.
Cliff Pennington's RBI single in the top of the seventh broke a 1-1 tie.
Doug Fister and Tommy Milone each allowed a run over the first six innings.
Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI single to left in the third for the A's but Garcia threw out a runner from right who was trying to score from second on a single by Brandon Moss.
The Tigers tied the score in the bottom of the third when Young grounded to first, allowing Cabrera to score from third.
NOTES: A's manager Bob Melvin won't announce his Tuesday pitcher until his A's get back to Oakland on Monday because he wants to see how lefty Brett Anderson feels. "Brett feels good," Melvin said. "We'd like to be able to pitch him in Game 3. It's mostly how he feels. We want to get him in a game as soon as we can." ... Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque kissed the baseball before he threw to first after he caught Cespedes' one-hopper back to the mound to end the ninth with runners on first and third.