Under Manager, Bob Melvin, the Oakland Athletics have shown repeatedly that adversity will not deter them from achieving their goals — or winning ball games. And in Game Three of the American League Division Series Monday against the Detroit Tigers on the road, these A's showed everyone again not to count them out, ever.
The A's blew a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, but they stormed right back in the fifth with two home runs to take a 6-3 lead that held up to the end of the game for the victory. Now, Oakland is just one win away from advancing to its first AL Championship Series since 2006.
Coco Crisp scored in the third on a Miguel Cabrera error, and then in the fourth, Josh Reddick hit a solo home run before Crisp hit a sacrifice fly that scored Game Two hero, Stephen Vogt. The A's had a 3-0 lead and looked to be cruising. But Oakland starter, Jarrod Parker, had a rough bottom half of the fourth, giving up an RBI double to Victor Martinez and a two-run single to Jhonny Peralta.
Yet these A's didn't fret or panic. This team never sweats the small stuff, do they?
So with one out in the fifth, Brandon Moss delivered his first career postseason home run and RBI to stake Oakland to a 4-3 lead.
After Yoenis Cespedes singled following Moss' homer, Smith himself made it 6-3 with his own home run off Tigers starter, Anibal Sanchez, the 2013 AL ERA champion who had surrendered only nine home runs all season before giving up three in this game alone to the A's.
It was Smith's second career postseason deep ball, as he took Justin Verlander out of the yard in last year's ALDS Game One in Detroit.
Thus, in the space of minutes, Oakland did to the Tigers and their raucous crowd exactly what Detroit did to the A's and their fans at the Coliseum in Game One: changed everything in an instant and rode that momentum to a huge win.
Of course, every postseason win is a big one, but for Oakland, this is especially significant: it's the first time in their last three postseason series, all against the Tigers, that the A's have led in the series itself.
Now, Oakland has a tremendous chance to close out the series in Game Four on Tuesday afternoon. And all because they're still a tremendously resilient team that never quits — something Melvin brought to this team when he took the manager job midway through the 2011 season.
Two AL West division titles later, Melvin has the A's close to a position they haven't been in too often since the halcyon days of Henderson, Eckersley and Stewart: a spot in the ALCS with a chance to go to the World Series.
Game time for Tuesday is 2:07 p.m. Pacific, and it'll be Dan Straily taking on Doug Fister at Comerica Par. The Tigers should know to never count the A's out of anything at this point. If they didn't learn that last year, they're remembering it now.
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