Much like their ALDS in 2012, the Detroit Tigers seized control in the opener winning 3-2 over the Oakland A's.
The Tigers came out swinging against Bartolo Colon, plating all three of their runs in the first inning on four hits and a hit batsman. Max Scherzer made the lead stand up through seven innings, and then watched on as relievers Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit recorded the final six outs.
• Max Scherzer was the story of the night early, shutting out Oakland on one-hit through the first six innings. He finally ran into trouble in the seventh when Brandon Moss reached on an infield single and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a two-run homer. Otherwise, he was brilliant, finishing with 11 strikeouts. It's Scherzer's third postseason victory.
• The Tigers received two hits apiece from Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Omar Infante in the 5-7 positions. Martinez, in particular, came up big with a first inning double that reignited their rally. He added another double in the sixth that was the beginning of the end for Colon.
• For Oakland, relievers Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle were perfect over three innings. Doolittle struck out three.
• Oakland hung tough despite getting nothing from the bottom five hitters in their order. Including Alberto Callaspo, who struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, they went a combined 0 for 16 with seven strikeouts.
• It was another rough night for Tigers third base coach Tom Brookens. With Detroit leading 3-0 and threatening to break the game open in the sixth, Brookens elected to send Victor Martinez home from second base on Omar Infante's single to right field. The play at home wasn't close. Josh Reddick's strong throw beat Martinez by a wide margin for the second out, adding to Brookens' resume of questionable sends. His most notable coming in a late season loss to Kansas City.
After Prince Fielder grounded into a double play that seemingly stalled Detroit's first inning rally at two runs, Victor Martinez immediately followed with a double. That kept the inning going for Alex Avila, who rolled a ground ball under the glove of first baseman Daric Barton for an RBI single. The play probably should have been scored an error, but the important thing for Detroit was plating that third and ultimately decisive run.
• When Bartolo Colon plunked Torii Hunter with a first inning fastball, it marked his first hit batsman since May 20, 2012.
• The A's drew an announced crowd of 48,401. That's O.co Coliseum's largest baseball crowd since June 27, 2004
• There will be much praise of Jim Leyland's decision to start Max Scherzer in Game 1 and it will all be deserved.
• How will the A's offense rebound with Justin Verlander waiting in Game 2?
The series continues Saturday night in Oakland with a first pitch scheduled for 9:07 p.m. ET. Rookie right-hander Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67) will look to even the series for the A's. Jim Leyland and company will counter with the aforementioned Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46).