#4: October 8, 2013: Tigers avoid elimination in ALDS
The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics have built up a nice rivalry in recent years and have had some incredible postseason tilts in back-to-back years. There was the Don Kelly walk-off sac fly in 2012 in a back-and-forth contest that featured a dropped out by Coco Crisp. There was the Jose Valverde blown save later in that series that robbed the Tigers of advancing in Game 4 and of course the pair of Game 5 masterful performances by Justin Verlander in enemy territory.
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But perhaps the best game with the most drama was the Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS in Detroit.
It looked as if the Athletics finally had the Tigers’ number. After losing two series in which they held the home field advantage (2006, 2012), the A’s beat up Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead and could knock out Detroit in Game 4. They got off to a quick 3-0 lead but the Tigers tied it with three of their own in the fifth inning.
Oakland took the lead again in the seventh, but Detroit answered with two more in the bottom of that inning to take the lead, including a Victor Martinez “fan-aided” homer to tie it.
Game 1 starter Max Scherzer had entered the game in relief and allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh, but now had a 5-4 lead in the 8th. He immediately found trouble, loading the bases with no outs. Running the count to 3-1, Max calmly fanned Josh Reddick with a low and in breaking ball, struck out Stephen Vogt, and after some tense moments (a barely foul ball, a full count) a hard hit ball off the bat of pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo landed harmlessly in Austin Jackson’s glove for out number three.
Max Scherzer may not be many Tigers’ fans best pal right now, but this is one indelible image he left us with.
The Tigers added three runs and Valverde tried to blow another one, but the Tigers held on and won Game 5 again in Oakland.