In what can only be described as one of the most exciting playoff games we will see in 2012, the Detroit Tigers got a walk-off sacrifice fly from Don Kelly to take a 2-0 lead over the Oakland A's as the American League Division Series prepares to head out west.
It wasn't always perfectly executed, with errors and wild pitches contributing to the scoring output, but this was postseason drama at its finest.
Let's start in the seventh inning, with the game tied 1-1. Seth Smith drew a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by George Kottaras and scored on a single by Cliff Pennington. The A's held a 2-1 lead after Tommy Milone gave them six innings of five-hit ball.
Move to the bottom of the seventh, with Sean Doolittle on the mound for Oakland. Austin Jackson and Omar Infante singled to put runners on first and third with two outs. Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate, already with two doubles on the day, and popped a pitch up to center field.
A's center fielder Coco Crisp charged the ball and tried to make a basket catch, but the ball hit off the heel of his glove and dropped, allowing both runners to score and giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
Since we should know better than to count the A's out, Yoenis Cespedes reminded us all how important speed really is on the bases. After singling, the star rookie stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch from Joaquin Benoit with Josh Reddick at bat.
Then on the very next pitch, Reddick—who had struck out in his three previous at-bats Sunday and six times in the series—launched a pitch right over the middle of the plate into the right-field seats to give the A's a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta singled off Ryan Cook. Kelly and Danny Worth were put in to pinch-run. Andy Dirks sacrificed them over to second and third. Cook got Quintin Berry to strike out for the second out of the inning.
Alex Avila came up next, and Cook pulled a Benoit by throwing a fastball about 55 feet into the dirt that hopped past Kottaras, allowing Kelly to score the tying run. Cook would get out of the inning by striking out Avila.
The A's did have an opportunity in the top of the ninth with two outs and runners on first and third, but Al Alburquerque got Cespedes to ground out and end the inning.
Austin Jackson led off the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout against Grant Balfour, and Infante singled to bring up Cabrera with one out. Cabrera singled to center, and Infante moved to third base.
The A's intentionally walked Prince Fielder to load the bases and get to Kelly with one out. Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Infante to give the Tigers the victory.
Game 3 will be played Tuesday in Oakland, with Anibal Sanchez taking the hill for the Tigers. The A's are likely to name Brett Anderson their starter, but haven't officially done so yet.
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