The game started like you'd expect. Doug Fister and Timmy Milone were hitting their spots, reminiscent of a couple of Tommy Madduxes and Greg Glavines. Hitters were called out on strikes. Hitters were swinging at pitches they shouldn't. The game moved quickly, and there wasn't a lot of offense. Then there was chaos.
In a game that featured comebacks, lead changes, and late-inning drama for both teams, the Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics, 5-4. The Tigers now hold a 2-0 series advantage against the A's before traveling to Oakland.
It all started so simply. In the top of the third, the A's strung together three singles, with Yoenis Cespedes' driving in a run. The excitement of the game to that point was encapsulated in what happened next, as Brandon Moss drove a single out to rookie Avisail Garcia, who apparently can throw a little bit:
The Tigers tied it up in the third on an RBI swinging bunt from Delmon Young, which is a pretty funny sentence for everyone but Tigers fans. But after that, it was a nice quiet game as both pitchers settled in. The A's took the lead in a very conventional way, as Seth Smith led off the top of the seventh with a walk, was bunted over to second, and scored on a Cliff Pennington single. Just like you draw it up, and the A's had a 2-1 lead.
Then the chaos. In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers set the table for Miguel Cabrera with a pair of two-out singles. With the crowd going nuts, Cabrera took a mighty cut … and blooped it into center. Coco Crisp froze for a moment, but he recovered in time to get to the ball. Kind of.
Two runs scored on the error, and the Tigers took an improbable 3-2 lead into the eighth. But that's when Yoenis Cespedes took over. After a single to center, Yoenis reminded everyone of the YouTube video that put him on the map in the first place. Imagine following the game on GameDay and seeing this:
It was as impressive as it reads, and the A's tied the game at 3-3. Four pitches later, Josh Reddick sent a Joaquin Benoit change-up into the right-field stands for a 4-3 A's lead, giving their vaunted bullpen a precarious lead to hold.
They could not. Ryan Cook allowed a pair of singles to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and the runners were promptly bunted over by Andy Dirks. After a Quintin Berry strikeout, it looked like the bunt was going to fail miserably, but Cook through a wild pitch on the first pitch he threw to Alex Avila. Don Kelly scored, and the Tigers tied the game, 4-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, A's manager Bob Melvin eschewed conventional strategy, bringing his closer, Grant Balfour, into a tie game on the road. After striking out Austin Jackson to start the inning, Omar Infante singled ahead of Miguel Cabrera. With the crowd going nuts, Cabrera took a mighty cut … and blooped it into center. This one fell far from Crisp, and Infante scampered to third. Melvin walked Prince Fielder intentionally, which brought up Kelly, who came into the game as a pinch-runner for Delmon Young.
Kelly is something of a one-tool player, but that tool is "not being Delmon Young," and he lofted a fly ball into medium-deep right-center, more than enough to score the winning run from third.
The Tigers take a commanding 2-0 series lead back to Oakland, and they'll try for the sweep on Tuesday.