CoCo Crisp and the Oakland Athletics try to sew up their comeback Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers at O.co Stadium in the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division series.
Capping a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, Crisp smacked a two-out walk-off RBI single for the 4-3 Game 4 win Wednesday night and knotted the series at two games apiece.
DH Seth Smith doubled in two runs to start the ninth inning surge and scored on Crisp's single for the win.
Originally up 2-0 in the series, Detroit dropped its second straight game as closer Jose Valverde squandered excellent performances by starter Max Scherzer and the Detroit bullpen.
Scherzer went 5 1/3 innings with no earned runs and eight strikeouts, while Detroit’s relief staff went 2 2/3 innings combined with three strikeouts and no runs before Valerde blew the ninth with three earned runs.
Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder notched his first home run of the series in the fourth inning to give Detroit a 2-0 lead, and Avisail Garcia pinch-hit in the eighth inning to score Omar Infante with a single to right and padded the lead to 3-1 before Oakland’s late-game heroics.
The A's now cary all the momentum heading into the series' final game that pits Detroit’s Game 1 winner Justin Verlander and Oakland’s Jarrod Parker against each other once again.
Verlander tossed a three-hitter in seven innings and recorded one earned run and 11 strikeouts in a scintillating win that many thought would set the tone for the rest of the series.
Parker kept pace with the reigning AL MVP in Game 1, going 6 1/3 innings with two earned and five strikeouts, but the A’s bats went cold against the Tigers' pen, mustering just one hit in the final two innings for the 3-1 loss.
Prediction: Game 4 marked the 15th walk-off victory for Oakland this season, and the A’s have given no sign they intend to slow down. Verlander must repeat his Game 1 performance, but unless third baseman Miguel Cabrera can drive in some runs, Oakland will walk away with the series.
Predicted Score: Oakland 2, Detroit 1