ALDS Game 2: Detroit downs Oakland after A’s bobble chance to tie series

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Score and situation: The Detroit Tigers took a commanding 2-0 ALDS lead with a dramatic 5-4 win over the Oakland A's at Comerica Park on Sunday.  The Detroit victory puts Oakland's Cinderella squad on the brink of elimination as the series shifts back to the Bay Area.

Leading lads: Don Kelly, who had never recorded a walkoff hit in his carer, lifted a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Omar Infante from third and give the Tigers the win. Miguel Cabrera also notched three hits for the Tigers, including the one that put Infante 90 feet away from the win.

Also deserving credit: Reliever Al Alburquerque, who retired Yoenis Cespedes as Oakland threatened in the top of the ninth and Tigers starter Doug Fister, who allowed two runs and struck out eight over seven innings.

Head hangers:  Oakland closer Grant Balfour was credited with the loss, but the A's were simply sloppy in the field and it cost them big time. Center fielder Coco Crisp bobbled and dropped a fly ball from Miguel Cabrera that would've ended the seventh inning, but instead allowed two runs to score. Pitcher Ryan Cook then threw a wild pitch in the eighth, allowing Kelly to tie the game after the A's had reclaimed the lead in the top of the frame. Combine those misplays with Jarrod Parker's fielding error in Game 1 and the A's are going to be kicking themselves a lot this offseason if they can't manage a comeback.

Key play: Crisp's error in the seventh put two Detroit runs on the scoreboard that shouldn't have been there is the obvious nominee. The Tigers lineup had been quiet before then, managing only one run off Oakland starter Tommy Milone in six innings.

Interesting stat: Josh Reddick hit a go-ahead homer off Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit in the top of the eighth inning, snapping a postseason line of 0-for-6 with six strikeouts. But it went for naught as Oakland's bullpen coughed up the lead and the win.

What they'll be talking about: With the lower seed hosting the first two games of the 2-3 format, Oakland is the first higher seed to fall victim to an early 0-2 deficit this season. It's awfully hard for the Athletics to complain, though, because they had an opportunity to win both games. Being shut down against Justin Verlander and playing poor defense over both games isn't a byproduct of playing on the road.

What's next: The series moves to Oakland for its final three games (if necessary). Game 3 is slated for Tuesday night at 9:07 ET with Anibal Sanchez and Brett Anderson listed as the scheduled starters.

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