The third deck tarps were off for the first time since 2005.
48,401 roaring fans were ready to root on the A’s as they faced the Tigers in game one of a rematch of the 2012 ALDS.
It was supposed to be an upgrade which would enhance an ultimate home field advantage for the notoriously raucous playoff atmosphere at the Coliseum.
The Tigers, however, had different thoughts, as they came out of the gates aggressively to score three runs in the top of the first inning that took the wind out of the sails of the crowd.
It was a relatively gusty night at the Coliseum Friday, and the A’s batters added to the breeze by fanning their way to 16 strike outs.
The inability to make contact with the ball cost Oakland the first game of the best-of-five series with Detroit, as they fell 3-2 in a well pitched game.
“We tend to strikeout some. We’ve been a little bit on and off with that over the course of the season.” Said Bob Melvin. “[Max] Scherzer is a strikeout guy, he’s a swing-and-miss guy, and they have several pitchers that get their share of strikeouts.
The favorite in the Cy Young award race allowed just one hit over the first six innings, a triple off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes, and after a lead off seventh-inning single from Brandon Moss, the Cuban slugger electrified the crowd and got the rally towels waving with a massive home run to deep left field.
Unfortunately for the A’s, that would be their last hit of the night.
Aside from a shaky first inning, Bartolo Colon adjusted to the aggressiveness of the potent Tigers offensive attack by mixing in off speed pitches to tally five consecutive scoreless frames to end his outing.
Colon was aided in the top of the sixth inning by a rocket-like throw from right fielder Josh Reddick that nailed Victor Martinez out at home plate with ease.
“We’ve seen him do it often, so it doesn’t surprise you. But each and every time he does it, it’s one of the reasons he won a Golden Glove last year,” said Melvin.
The A’s will turn to rookie starting pitcher Sonny Gray in game two looking to even the series. The righty has pitched in pressure situations before, as he led Vanderbilt University to the College World Series in 2011.
“There will be adrenaline going and just to harness that and to use it to my advantage is probably going to be a key to the game,” Gray told the media on Friday.
It will be a tough task as Justin Verlander will take the hill for the Tigers. The flamethrower beat Oakland twice in the ALDS a season ago, and will look to continue to torment A’s hitters Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 PST.