- Last Updated: 12:22 AM, October 11, 2012
- Posted: 1:46 AM, October 10, 2012
OAKLAND, Calif.-- The baseball gods, Brett Anderson, Coco Crisp and a shutdown bullpen, were on the A’s side last night. All that proved to be an unbeatable combination.
Heading into Game 3 of the ALDS, the A’s promised this series was not over by a long shot and there would be payback for Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque’s showing up of the A’s by kissing the baseball after Yoenis Cespedes ninth-inning comebacker in Detroit’s Game 2 victory.
That 5-4 loss featured a critical, two-run error by Crisp in center field. Everything reversed last night at O.co Coliseum. Crisp made a spectacular leaping catch over the center field wall in the second inning to rob Prince Fielder of a home run and Cespedes drove in Crisp in the first with a smash up the middle that could not be snagged by Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez.
That led to a 2-0 victory over the Tigers, and the A’s remain alive in the ALDS. The Tigers own a 2-1 lead in the series, but the A’s have been magical at home and believe they can push this matchup to a fifth game.
“The baseball gods would be proud of us,’’ Jonny Gomes said of the club’s performance that included a solo home run by Seth Smith. “We had guys breaking up two. We had guys diving in the outfield, we had guys picking each other up and hopefully the baseball gods will be on our side again [tonight].’’
Another win by the A’s would really help the winner of the Yankees-Orioles series because that would mean Justin Verlander would not be able to start Game 1 of the ALCS. Detroit will send Max Scherzer out tonight against A.J. Griffin.
This was quite a night for the Bay Area, with both the A’s and Giants staying alive as the Giants beat the Reds 2-1 in Cincinnati. Remember what it was like when both the Yankees and Mets were in the postseason at the same time and the energy of that experience? That’s what it’s ike out here with a Left Coast twist.
The Coliseum was rocking as 37,090 fans packed the place. The tarps remained on the upper deck, but there were drums beating in the outfield, whistles and other noisemakers in the festive crowd, a real home-field advantage, and the Tigers are not a good road team.
When Crisp made his remarkable grab to rob Fielder, the building went crazy with fans waving their gold towels. Crisp was quite upset after making the error Sunday and admitted last night his confidence was shaken a bit.
“That was a tough situation in the playoffs and it can weigh on you and it definitely weighed on me,” Crisp said. “But I was able to come in Monday, get some fly balls, and to be able to make a play like that definitely resets you mentally. Obviously it doesn’t erase what happened in the previous game, but I am grateful that I was able to come up with that catch.’’
The April underdog is now an October big dog. The A’s believe they can sweep the Tigers because they have swept the Yankees and Rangers at home this season. It’s a much different story in the postseason, though.
Ryan Cook came on in the seventh and Fielder was robbed by another Oakland outfielder as Cespedes made a diving grab of his line drive. Sean Doolittle struck out the side in the eighth and Grant Balfour slammed the door in the ninth.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin decided to go with Smith as the designated hitter, and that move paid off as Smith crushed a homer to center in the fifth against Sanchez. Smith came into the game 6-for-13 against Sanchez with two home runs. This was his first postseason home run.
“This is what we’ve been doing all year,’’ Cook said. “This is what the A’s are all about.’’
One down, two to go for the A’s, who believe the baseball gods are wearing green, gold and white.Follow @NYPostsports