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Athletics use long ball to beat Tigers; take ALDS lead

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The Canadian Press
10/7/2013 8:13:45 PM
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DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have fallen behind the Oakland Athletics for the first time, and there's plenty of blame to go around.

Detroit struggled on the mound, at the plate and in the field during a 6-3 loss Monday that left the Tigers trailing 2-1 in the best-of-five AL division series.

"This is on everybody," Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera said. "We all need to do better."

The Tigers, who won the series opener, will face elimination on Tuesday at home with Detroit right-hander Doug Fister facing Oakland's righty Dan Straily.

"We either score runs or we go home," Cabrera said.

The Tigers also will need to pitch and play defence better than they did in Game 3.

Anibal Sanchez matched a career high by allowing three homers. He gave up six runs -- five earned -- to match season highs over 4 1-3 innings.

Sanchez hadn't given up two homers in a game all season, but allowed the A's to clear the fences twice in one inning. Derek Moss hit a go-ahead, solo homer in the fifth and Seth Smith later followed with a two-run homer in the inning to chase Sanchez and leave him wondering what went wrong.

"I would like to know what happened," Sanchez said.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland insisted he didn't think twice about taking Sanchez out earlier in the pivotal fifth inning.

"He's my guy and he did lead the league in earned run average," Leyland said.

Sanchez did have an AL-low 2.57 ERA and allowed the fewest homers -- an average of less than one-half -- per nine innings in the league, but he didn't look like the same pitcher in his 2013 post-season debut.

And, his teammates didn't help him out defensively in couple key situations.

Cabrera couldn't handle Yoenis Cespedes' two-out grounder in the third, allowing Coco Crisp to score the game's first run.

Converted left fielder Jhonny Peralta made a soft throw on a play at the plate when Crisp hit a hit a shallow fly that was long enough to score a run. That surprised Crisp, who put his head down soon after swinging the bat.

"I didn't think it had a chance," Crisp said.

The Tigers gave Peralta another opportunity to play this year after he returned last month from his drug suspension. Slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias has his old job at shortstop, but Leyland put him in the lineup in left.

Peralta contributed a tying, two-run single in the fourth.

"When you put a guy out there that hasn't been out there, you're saying you're willing to accept what you get defensively for what you might get offensively," Leyland said. "And, Jhonny got us a hit that gave us two runs."

Oakland restored its three-run lead, scoring three runs in the next inning.

"It was a little deflating, right after you tie the game," Tigers catcher Alex Avila acknowledged. "You want a shutdown inning there, and we didn't get one."

The Tigers, who extended their scoreless streak to 20 innings in the third inning, tied the score with three runs in the fourth.

Detroit had chance to cut into its deficit in the eighth inning with one on and out, but two sluggers couldn't help them come back. Cabrera popped up and Prince Fielder lined out to end the Tigers' threat.

The Tigers have scored three runs in two different innings -- the first in Game 1 and fourth in Game 3 -- and have been held scoreless in the other 25 innings.

In the home half of the ninth on Monday afternoon, Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez lost his cool in an expletive-laced exchange with Oakland closer Grant Balfour after a foul ball that led to the benches and bullpens emptying onto the infield.

"The guy (Balfour) was wound up a little bit, came off yelling at Victor," Leyland said. "And Victor took offence to it, and I don't blame him."

Yoenes Cespedes and Brandon Moss (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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