The Oakland A's had to leave home to find their homer.
Oakland nabbed a 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon thanks to home runs from Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, and Seth Smith. With the win, Oakland assumed a 2-1 ALDS series lead in the best of five series.
All three homers all came against Anabel Sanchez, who lead the AL in ERA and hadn't given up more than one home run in a single game all season. Sanchez exited the game after giving up eight hits and five runs over four and ⅓ innings. Oakland starter Jerrod Parker may not have pitched a gem like the series’ previous pitchers had, but his three runs on five hits over five innings was good enough to earn the win.
The A’s finished third in the majors with 186 home runs this season and Josh Reddick said after the game that the long ball remains crucial to the team’s success.
"That's the logic with our team," said Reddick. "We're going to strike out and we're going to hit the long ball, so once we get those going, it's going to be a good day. And to do it against a guy like Sanchez, who's been great all year, it does a lot for your confidence coming into tomorrow."
The first two games of the series were characterized by strong pitching efforts from both teams, but game 3 saw a combined 17 hits between the two squads. Oakland got on the board first thanks to an error on Detroit's star player Miguel Cabrera. After Yoenis Cespedes hit a line drive up the third-base line, Cabrera, who has been hobbled with a groin injury, was unable to corral the ball, putting the A's up 1-0. They added to their lead in the fourth inning when Reddick hit his solo shot to right field and Coco Crisp, who also had a single and two doubles, drove in Stephen Vogt on a sacrifice fly.
It didn't take long for Detroit to get even, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth off of hits from Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. But Oakland took the lead for good in the fifth with Brandon Moss' solo homer and a two-run shot from Seth Smith.
"It was exciting for Brandon to get us on the board," Smith said. "It was nice to score some runs and get back on top there."
The end of the game did feature a bit of drama, though it had nothing to do with the score. After a foul ball, A's closer Grant Balfour and Victor Martinez exchanged un-pleasantries with each other and Martinez eventually started making his way out toward the feisty Aussie pitcher, clearing the benches. However, no players were ejected and Balfour registered the final two outs to give Oakland the win.
Despite the late game exchange, the A’s seemed almost nonchalant when speaking with reporters ahead of their first chance to advance to their first AL Championship Series since 2006.
"It's very businesslike in here," reliever Sean Doolittle said. "That's how it is here. We're enjoying being up 2-1. But tomorrow it'll be like any other game day."
Oakland can close out the series on Tuesday when they send rookie pitcher Dan Straily to face Detroit's Doug Fister.