DETROIT — The Oakland Athletics have beaten Detroit with both pitching and power. And that’s left the Tigers on the brink of elimination — and simmering with frustration.
Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith homered for the Athletics, who chased Anibal Sanchez in the fifth inning Monday and defeated the Tigers 6-3 for a 2-1 American League Division Series lead.
Moss broke a 3-all tie in the fifth with a solo shot, and Smith’s two-run drive later in the inning ended Sanchez’s day. It was an impressive offensive show after the teams split two taut, low-scoring games in Oakland.
This one got a little tense in the ninth, too, when Athletics closer Grant Balfour and Detroit hitter Victor Martinez started shouting at each other after a foul ball, causing benches and bullpens to empty.
Oakland can close out the series Tuesday and reach the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2006 — when the Athletics were swept by the Tigers. Oakland will send rookie Dan Straily to the mound against former Mariners starter Doug Fister.
“There’s no tricks. We’ve got to win the game tomorrow to try to extend it to Game 5. It’s that simple,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We ran into another situation where we didn’t put enough runs on the board and an excellent starting pitcher didn’t have a very good day.”
Sanchez, this season’s AL leader in ERA, allowed six runs — five earned — and eight hits in 4 innings.
Jarrod Parker gave up three runs in five innings for Oakland, and the Tigers couldn’t rally against the bullpen.
Balfour pitched a hitless ninth for the save. Martinez had just hit a foul ball when he started looking back at Balfour, who yelled something at him.
Martinez started slowly toward the mound, and players from both teams came running out. The situation eventually calmed and no players were ejected. Plate umpire Gary Darling said warnings were sufficient.
“I said, ‘Why you staring me down like that?’” Balfour said. “He was staring me down. He knew what he was doing.”
Martinez said Balfour threw in a profanity when he yelled toward the plate.
“I’m not a rookie. I’m a veteran, and I’m a leader on my teams. I don’t take that,” Martinez said while including a few profane words of his own during his explanation.
Athletics 6, TIGERS 3
a-struck out for Vogt in the 8th.
E—Mi.Cabrera (1). LOB—Oakland 8, Detroit 5. 2B—Crisp 2 (2), V.Martinez (2). 3B—Vogt (1). HR—Reddick (1), off Ani.Sanchez; Moss (1), off Ani.Sanchez; S.Smith (1), off Ani.Sanchez. RBIs—Crisp (1), Moss (1), S.Smith 2 (2), Reddick (1), V.Martinez (1), Jh.Peralta 2 (2). SB—Crisp (1). SF—Crisp. Runners left in scoring position—Oakland 3 (Cespedes 2, S.Smith); Detroit 1 (Infante). RISP—Oakland 1 for 12; Detroit 2 for 3. Runners moved up—Lowrie, Avila. GIDP—Tor.Hunter, V.Martinez. DP—Oakland 2 (Donaldson, Sogard, Moss), (Moss, Lowrie).
J.Parker W, 1-0553311735.40
Otero H, 1220001200.00
Doolittle H, 1100011140.00
Balfour S, 1-1100011210.00
Umpires—Home, Gary Darling; First, Jim Reynolds; Second, Tom Hallion; Third, Mike DiMuro; Right, CB Bucknor; Left, Mark Wegner. T—3:32 A—43,973.