The A’s relied on the main components that have carried them all season long on Monday afternoon: pitching and power.
Jarrod Parker followed Sonny Gray’s ‘David versus Goliath’ style performance against former MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander with an outstanding game of his own, out-pitching 2013 AL ERA champion Anibal Sanchez in the A’s 6-3 victory.
The A’s sluggers delivered the horsepower in the Motor City, launching three home runs off of Sanchez, who allowed just nine homers during the course of the entire regular season.
Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, and Seth Smith all connected for long balls that built a lead that Oakland would not relinquish.
While Reddick and Moss have been struggling making contact during the first two games of the series, combining to strike out 9 times, the barrel of their bats found the ball in a big way Monday, proving that swinging for the fences does pan out with persistence.
Former Triple-A closer Dan Otero showed his grit, pitching two innings of scoreless ball to hold Detroit at bay. After earning 15 saves and compiling an impressive 0.99 ERA with the Rivercats, the righty has been a vital contributor to the A’s bullpen down the stretch.
Parker, who had a nine-game winning streak and an Oakland record 19-start unbeaten streak this season, bounced back from losing both of his playoff starts against Detroit in last season’s ALDS to pitch five innings allowing just three runs to the potent Tigers offense, and earn his first postseason win.
Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Grant Balfour earned the save with a scoreless ninth to give the A’s a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-5 game series.
Rookie Dan Straily will look to close out the series Tuesday afternoon against veteran Doug Fister aiming to keep the Tigers alive. First pitch is scheduled at 2:07 PST.