Just like last year's Game Two of the American League Division Series, the Oakland Athletics let a late-inning lead slip away in Comerica Park in Detroit today as they lost Game Four, 8-6, and now return to the O.co Coliseum for yet another Game Five on Thursday.
Coco Crisp singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning to put the A's nine outs from advancing to the AL Championship Series, but like so many times in the second half of the regular season, relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook struggled to keep the lead: both relievers gave up two runs apiece in less than two combined innings, and the Tigers stayed alive.
Oakland's offense also reverted to bad form, loading the bases in the top of the eighth with no outs and failing to score.
So now, like so many postseason Octobers before in the last 14 years, the A's once again get to play a Game Five in the Division Series -- and it hasn't been pretty:
- In 2000, the New York Yankees beat Oakland at the Coliseum in Game Five, 7-5;
- In 2001, the Yankees again beat the A's, but this time in New York, winning 5-3;
- In 2002, the Minnesota Twins beats Oakland at the Coliseum, 5-4;
- In 2003, the Boston Red Sox beat the A's at the Coliseum, 4-3;
- Last year, the Tigers did the honors, beating Oakland at the Coliseum, 6-0.
All of this could have been avoided, but Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Victor Martinez in the seventh, blowing the 4-3 lead, and then the lefty allowed another run to give up the lead.
Then in the eighth, Cook got the first two outs before giving up a walk and a hit. Brett Anderson came in to provide no relief whatsoever, walking a batter, throwing a wild pitch and giving up one more run of his own to let Detroit cruise to a four-run lead entering the ninth inning.
The A's did get the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, which is a recurring characteristic of this squad under Manager Bob Melvin: no quit in them.
It just didn't work out this time.
So it's once more unto the breach, dear A's fans, once more; or close the postseason dreams up with your baseball dread.
Game time on Thursday is 6:00 p.m.