A's hit 3 HRs to take 2-1 series lead
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - After baby-faced rookie Sonny Gray outdueled Justin Verlander to even the American League Division Series, the Oakland Athletics went back to their bread and butter in Game 3.
They used the long ball.
Seth Smith smacked a two-run homer and Brandon Moss added a solo shot in a go- ahead, three-run fifth inning as the A's downed the Detroit Tigers, 6-3, to take a 2-1 lead in the ALDS.
Josh Reddick cracked a solo blast for Oakland, which can advance to the American League Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 on Tuesday.
"Regardless of the outcome today, we will approach tomorrow's game the same way," Smith said. "You want to win every playoff game. I'm sure if we wouldn't have won today, I guess some coaching things would have been done differently. But as far as playing the game, it's another game we would like to win and we will go out and approach it that way."
Anibal Sanchez (0-1), the AL's ERA leader (2.57), allowed just 0.45 homers per nine innings during the season, but gave up all three of the Oakland homers in his 4 1/3 frames of work.
"Sometimes he starts out a little slow," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Today he just really didn't get it going. He made a couple of real bad pitches the last inning he was out there to Moss and Smith."
The A's, who were third in MLB during the regular season with 186 homers, had tallied just three runs and 11 hits in the first two tilts of the set, but pounded out 10 hits in Game 3.
Grant Balfour tossed a scoreless ninth for the save. He and Victor Martinez traded barbs during an at-bat, which caused the benches and bullpens to empty.
Coco Crisp had two doubles among his three hits to go with an RBI and a run scored, while Jarrod Parker (1-0) surrendered three runs on five hits and a walk over five innings to pick up the win.
Sanchez was shelled for six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits and two walks for the Tigers, who have scored in just two innings thus far in this series.
In an effort to boost the suddenly anemic offense, Jhonny Peralta was inserted into the starting lineup. Peralta, who played left field instead of his regular shortstop position, was suspended 50 games in early August as part of baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic.
Peralta's two-run single highlighted Detroit's three-run fourth, which tied the game at 3-3, but Oakland surged ahead in the fifth.
Moss ripped a one-out blast into the right-field seats to give the A's the lead and after Yoenis Cespedes singled, Smith launched an opposite-field shot over the wall in left center to give Oakland a 6-3 edge.
Detroit grounded into inning-ending double plays in each of its next two frames and mustered just one hit over the last three innings.
The A's opened the scoring in the third and tacked on two more runs in the fourth.
Crisp started the third with a single, later stole second and came home on Miguel Cabrera's fielding error when Cespedes bounced one to third.
Reddick lifted a leadoff shot that carried into the right-field seats and after Game 2 hero Stephen Vogt tripled into right field, Crisp's sacrifice fly to left two batters later increased the A's spread to 3-0.
Martinez's RBI double accounted for Detroit's other run in the fourth.
Oakland's Dan Straily and Detroit's Doug Fister are the projected starters for Game 4 ... Oakland snapped a four-game postseason losing streak ... The A's were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while the Tigers finished 2- for-3.
10/07 23:59:46 ET