On a cold 49 degree October night, the Detroit Tigers opened up their postseason against the Oakland A’s, in front of a packed house in downtown Detroit.
Justin Verlander got the ball in the first game of the short five game series. Verlander hasn’t had much success over his last three playoff starts. On Saturday night, the Tigers’ ace looked to put his team ahead in the series early.
Four pitches into the ballgame, Oakland Athletics’ Coco Crisp took Verlander deep for a leadoff home run. Putting an early roadblock on Verlander trying to have a good start.
In the bottom of the first the Tigers’ offense would pick up their ace by getting an early run off A’s rookie starting pitcher Jarrod Parker, courtesy of the Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who hit into a double play but scored Austin Jackson from third.
Tigers’ left fielder Quintin Berry, who had two hits, helped give the Tigers the lead in the bottom of the third. Berry hit a ball towards first base. As Berry was charging down the line, Parker went to field the ball and flip it to Brandon Moss, but Moss wasn’t covering the bag. Omar Infante would score on the A’s costly error.
Alex Avila, who hasn’t shown the same power as he did in 2011, tacked on an insurance run with a solo home run into the visitor’s bullpen.
After Crisp tagged Verlander up for a leadoff home run, the A’s offense would be staggered for the rest of the night.Verlander pitched seven strong innings, struck out 11, (Verlander’s second postseason start with 10 or more strikeouts), and walked four.
Parker also pitched very well in his first ever postseason start. Pitching 6 2/3 innings, set down five Tigers’ hitters on strikes and surrendered only two earned runs.
The A’s gave the Tigers a scare in the bottom of the eighth. Joaquin Benoit nearly gave up a game tying home run to Moss, but it fell harmless to Andy Dirks right in front of the right field wall.Jose Valverde pitched a spotless ninth inning. Striking out the first two hitters he faced and got George Kottaras to pop up to end the game. Securing the Big Potato’s first postseason save and putting the Tigers up 1-0 in the series.
Tomorrow the Tigers and A’s face off in some afternoon postseason baseball. Doug Fister (0-0) will take the hill for the Tigers in game two. Tommy Milone (0-0) will be pitching for the A’s.