Team Grades for Tigers and Athletics ALDS Game 5
Verlander was dominant throughout his complete game shutout of the "Miracle A's" and finally brought a close to Oakland's improbable season.
The Tigers lineup touched up Oakland's rookie starter Jarrod Parker for a pair of runs in the third inning and added a four run rally in the seventh to seal their trip to the American League Championship Series, where they'll meet the winner of Game 5 between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.
Here are the final grades from Game 5.
Oakland A's rookie Jarrod Parker did his best to match the effort of reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander on Thursday night, but received no run support from his lineup.
The box score shows Parker having pitched 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while walking one batter and striking out six. In actuality, Parker threw a better game than his statistics showed.
Through the first six innings, Parker allowed just two runs, both coming in the top half of the third. The first run came via an RBI double by Austin Jackson to score Omar Infante. Jackson scored a couple batters later on a wild pitch that could have been considered a passed ball by catcher Derek Norris.
The final two runs charged to Parker came in the seventh inning after Parker left the game with runners on the corners and one out.
Ryan Cook came on to pitch in relief and promptly allowed Jackson to score on an RBI single. Cook then walked the bases loaded before leaving the game in favor of Jerry Blevins, who would plunk Miguel Cabrera to force in the final run charged to Parker.
For Detroit, the entire pitching story can be summed up in two words: Justin Verlander.
Verlander was nasty, striking out 11 Oakland Athletics in route to his second postseason victory of 2012 and the complete game shutout.
Verlander did not allow an Oakland hitter past second base the entire game, giving up just four hits for the night and only walking a single batter.
He showed why he is the reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner.
Oakland's Final Grade: B
Detroit's Final Grade: A+
The Tigers managed nine hits off Oakland starting pitching and scored six times, including a four run rally in the seventh inning that put another comeback victory for Oakland out of reach.
Detroit got the scoring started in the third inning off of A's starter Jarrod Parker, touching up the rookie for a quick run on an Austin Jackson RBI single. Jackson then came around to score on a wild pitch by Parker.
They added four more runs in the seventh off Parker and a handful of A's relievers, punishing the usually solid bullpen unit of Oakland.
The middle of Detroit's lineup, Miguel Cabrera (0-4), Prince Fielder (1-5) and Delmon Young (1-4) were held to just 2-13 for the game.
Detroit was 4-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners on base. They also struck out nine times against A's pitching.
As previously mentioned, the A's were shutout by Justin Verlander, managing just four hits on the night.
The lone extra-base hit of the night for Oakland came in the first inning when Yoenis Cespedes smacked a double.
A's batters struck out 11 times and were 0-2 with runners in scoring position.
Oakland's Offense Final Grade: D-
Detroit's Offense Final Grade: B-
Veteran manager Jim Leyland showed his value throughout the series, helping the Tigers manufacture runs through small ball.
In the third inning of Game 5, Quentin Berry successfully bunted Austin Jackson over to third base with just one out, setting Detroit up for a run via virtually any contact.
Throughout the game, If Detroit got a runner to second base without an out, it seemed the run was coming home, since Leyland would find a way to sacrifice the runner to third.
Leyland also earned points for sticking with Verlander and allowing his ace to finish the job rather than turning the game over to the bullpen, and risking an Oakland comeback.
Final Grade: A
Oakland Coliseum Crowd
The noise inside the Oakland Coliseum was a talking point from both teams.
The stadium that rarely sells out during the regular season was packed throughout the final home series of the regular season and the three home games this postseason.
The fans were quick to cheer and make themselves heard, adding fuel to their home team, creating a difficult environment for the visitors. They became Oakland's "tenth man" in the playoffs.
Although the crowd was silenced at times during Game 5, they still came to life on every 0-2 count by their pitching staff and cheered their batters in every frustrating at-bat against Justin Verlander.
Once the final out was recorded, and Detroit stormed the field to celebrate, there was a brief moment of silence before the crowd—all of whom stayed—began cheering and chanting "Let's Go Oakland."
The ovation prompted A's players to leave the dugout and tip their caps to the fans, sparking an even louder ovation as a few Detroit players turned to see the commotion.
A's players then greeted and congratulated their teammates out on the field, a fairly unheard of scene for the losing team in a series, all while the home crowd showed their appreciation for an amazing season.
Final Grade: A
With the 6-0 shutout, the Tigers will move on to face the winner of Game 5 between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.
Detroit showed solid starting pitching and typically a solid bullpen throughout the series while managing to muster enough offense against a very good Oakland pitching staff.
The A's—despite fighting back from down 0-2 in the series to force Game 5—were not up to the task of taking down one of the best pitchers in the game.
An amazing season came to an end for Oakland, while Detroit will play on and fight for a chance at a World Series appearance.
Detroit Final Grade: B+
Oakland Final Grade: C
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