Cespedes went 2 for 4 with a 2-run seventh inning home run that accounted for both Athletics’ runs.
Scherzer, in seven dominating innings, struck out eleven, walked two and allowed just three hits including the Cespedes’ moonball that landed well-up into the left-center field bleachers.
“He was awfully determined.” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He was thrilled to get Game 1. I think it meant a lot to him.”
Adding, “Regardless of what game he pitched, we have a lot of confidence in him.”
Austin Jackson led off the game with a double as A’s starter, Bartolo Colon struggled out of the gate.
Tori Hunter got hit by a pitch, Colon’s first HBP of the season, and Miguel Cabrera singled home Jackson as Hunter scampered to third.
Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to help Colon, but in consecutive at-bats, Victor Martinez doubled and Alex Avila singled off the glove of diving second baseman, Eric Sogard, to chase home Martinez with the third run of the inning.
Scherzer, frustrating A’s batters all night, struck out a career postseason high 11 batters including twice striking out 4 batters in a row.
“I threw strike one tonight.” Scherzer said. I thought I had a great change-up tonight, keeping them off balance that allowed me to go deep into the game.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the A’s in Game 2 Saturday night.
They’ll face former Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander and counter with rookie, Sonny Gray, who will become the sixth rookie in A’s history to start a postseason game.
“We know it’s a tough task to beat those guys back-to-back but we can’t dwell on this loss, “ Josh Reddick said.
ALDS Game 2, 6:00 p.m. Saturday night at the O.co Coliseum.