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Bullpen mistakes and defensive miscues left the second game of the ALDS for the taking, and the Tigers came out on top.
Despite receiving a stellar effort from Tommy Milone and a meltdown by Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit, the Athletics could not capitalize on the Tigers' mistakes and lost the second game of the ALDS, 5-4. The loss puts them into an 0-2 hole in a best-of-five contest as the series shifts to Oakland.
Oakland drew first blood in the game; in the top of the third inning, Cliff Pennington led off with a single to left field, while Coco Crisp reached on an infield hit to Miguel Cabrera. Yoenis Cespedes then stroked a single to left field to drive in Pennington. Brandon Moss followed Cespedes' single with one of his own, but a perfect throw by right fielder Avisail Garcia nailed Crisp at home.
The Tigers evened the score in the score in the bottom of the third, as Miguel Cabrera scored on a Delmon Young groundout. It'd be the only run Milone would give up in his six innings of work.
After that, Milone and Doug Fister put doughnuts on the board until the seventh inning, when the A's seized a 2-1 lead on an RBI single by Pennington. The lead didn't last long; in the bottom half of the inning, Crisp bobbled a ball twice in center field, allowing the Tigers to tack on a pair of runs.
Cespedes single-handedly tied the game in the eighth inning, slapping a single to right field before stealing second and third base. He came around to score on a wild pitch by Benoit, and Josh Reddick followed the run up with a solo homer, giving the A's a 4-3 edge.
Yet the Tigers responded quickly in the eighth inning; Young and Jhonny Peralta reached on singles, then advanced to second and third on an sac bunt by Andy Dirks. Athletics reliever Ryan Cook uncorked a wild pitch of his own to bring Young home, but he escaped further trouble by striking out Alex Avila.
Grant Balfour, who finished off the regular season with five consecutive scoreless one-inning appearances, couldn't escape the ninth inning unscathed. After Omar Infante and Cabrera tagged him for singles, Balfour intentionally walked Prince Fielder to bring Don Kelly's anemic bat to the plate. Kelly didn't have to get a hit to become the Tigers' hero, though. He lifted a sac fly to right field, scoring Infante and giving Detroit a 5-4 victory.