The Oakland Athletics took a 2-1 series lead in their ALDS series against the Detroit Tigers by crushing three homers off starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez en route to a 6-3 win. The A's can close out the series on Tuesday.
• Bob Melvin loaded up his lineup with seven left-handed hitters, knowing that lefties hit 40 points higher against Sanchez in the regular season. It worked out for the A's, whose lefties were 7-for-16 (.438) against Sanchez. Seth Smith had two hits and a two-run homer, while Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss each hit solo homers. Switch-hitting Coco Crisp had three hits, including a leadoff double to start the game.
• Jhonny Peralta had a two-run single that tied the game 3-3 in the fourth inning. He was also playing left field for the Tigers, and didn't commit any huge gaffes. Peralta, a shortstop by trade, is playing left so the Tigers can make use of his bat. He lost his job at shortstop after his 50-game PED suspension. Peralta's one lowlight: He didn't make as good of a throw as possible on a play at home plate. In a defense vs. offense one-game glimpse, starting Peralta was the right call for the Tigers. Prince Fielder also had two hits and scored a run for Detroit.
• Starter Jarrod Parker wasn't spectacular for the A's, but he did enough. He pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three runs. The A's bullpen backed him up sufficiently, giving up only two hits in four innings of relief.
• Anibal Sanchez had one of his worst outings of the year. He gave up six runs (five of them earned) on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. The five earned runs he gave up matched his season-high. Only twice in 2013 did he give up more than four earned runs. But the A's exploited his weakness against lefties and sent him to the showers early.
• Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson, who had another 0-for-the-day performance. He was 0-for-3, but at least managed a walk. He's now hitting .091 with one hit and one walk in the series. He's struck out seven times.
• Jed Lowrie, batting third for the A's on Monday, was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He has yet to get a hit in the series.
Smith's homer in the fifth inning, which changed the tone of the game, but might have been avoided. The Tigers were eyeing their bullpen when Smith came up to bat. The score was 4-3 with a runner on. If Tigers manager Jim Leyland had pulled Sanchez one batter earlier, like many were expecting, what might have happened instead? Plus, Smith has been good in his career against Sanchez, hitting .353 with two homers.
• Anibal Sanchez had only given up nine homers in the regular season, before allowing three to the A's on Monday.
• Parker is 20-0 in games in which Oakland scores at least three runs for him.
• A ninth-inning benches-clearing incident between the two teams. A's closer Grant Balfour got into a shouting match with Victor Martinez. They charged each other a bit, benches cleared, bullpens followed, but nothing happened. Balfour is known to yell things at himself while he's pitching. Things escalated from there, including some salty language that was caught by the live TV camera. Martinez flew out to right field when order was restored.
• Leyland being slow to pull Sanchez.
• Coco Crisp vs. Austin Jackson: Crisp was the "engine" for the A's, as the TBS announcers kept saying. He had three hits and stole a base, setting the Oakland offense in motion each time around the lineup. Jackson, however, has struggled the entire series and has only been on base twice.
• Finally, some offense. The two teams had combined for six runs total in their first two games of the series.
Game 4, the potential clincher for the A's, is at 5:07 p.m. ET Tuesday from Comerica Park in Detroit. Dan Straily (10-8, 3.96 ERA) is scheduled to start for Oakland, with Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67 ERA) going for the Tigers. Unless, of course, Jim Leyland decides to bring Game 1 winner Max Scherzer back on three-days' rest.