By Larry Lage
The Associated Press
DETROIT — Oakland’s relievers put the Athletics within a win of the AL championship series by not allowing a run through the first three games against Detroit.
With a chance to advance Tuesday, the bullpen couldn’t come through.
Sean Doolittle lost the lead and gave up two runs in the seventh inning, Ryan Cook and Brett Anderson yielded three more in the eighth, and the Tigers rallied for an 8-6 win to force a decisive fifth game in their AL division series.
“It’s really frustrating, but I wouldn’t have done anything different,” Doolittle said. “I just got beat.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin, likewise, wouldn’t second-guess his decision to take out rookie Dan Straily after he gave up three runs over six innings. Melvin gave Doolittle the ball with a 4-3 lead in the seventh.
“When Daniel came out, we had one of our best relievers in the game,” Melvin said.
Entering the game, Oakland’s relievers had held Detroit scoreless for eight innings and hadn’t allowed a run in the previous nine games dating to the regular season.
That’s why Melvin wasn’t willing to be too hard on his relievers for letting a big win slip away.
“We put a lot of faith in our bullpen,” he said. “One of the reasons that we are where we are is because of our bullpen.”
But now, the Tigers are heading back to California thanks to Max Scherzer and perhaps some fans in the stands.
During a relief outing to remember, Scherzer escaped a major jam one inning after two fans reached out to try to reel in Victor Martinez’s disputed home run that helped the Tigers extend the series.
Red Sox KO Rays: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane Victorino’s infield single snapped a seventh-inning tie and journeyman Craig Breslow gave Boston a huge boost out of the bullpen, sending the Red Sox into the AL championship series with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Koji Uehara got the final four outs — one night after giving up a game-winning homer — and the Red Sox rebounded to win the best-of-five playoff 3-1.
Back in the ALCS for the first time in five years, they’ll open at home Saturday against the Athletics or Tigers. Oakland hosts Detroit in a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.
Both managers mixed and matched all night in a tense game that felt more like a chess match. Desperately trying to avoid elimination, Rays skipper Joe Maddon used nine pitchers.