Don Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Sunday for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera doubled twice for the Tigers, hit a fly ball that resulted in a two-run error and later singled in the ninth.
Detroit will go for a sweep of the division series matchup in Game 3 on Tuesday at Oakland. Game time is 9 p.m. on TBS.
The Tigers overcame three A's leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a big Oakland misplay, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.
Recap: Game 2 coverage from Local 4 Sports
The Athletics struck out 14 times and managed just four hits Saturday in the opener of the best-of-five series. Oakland had just one extra-base hit after Coco Crisp led off the game with a home run, and they lost 3-1 despite a solid outing from rookie Jarrod Parker. Detroit claimed its second victory in its past seven series openers by relying on its solid pitching, with Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde following Verlander with two scoreless innings.
The Athletics led the majors in strikeouts during the regular season, and their inability to put the ball in play quickly became an issue in Game 1. Oakland kept the game close by holding the heart of the Detroit order – Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young – hitless in nine at-bats. The Tigers received a surprising boost from catcher Alex Avila, who homered in the fifth inning after going 3-for-41 (.073) with a homer and two RBI over 11 games in the postseason last year. The Athletics, who finished the regular season with six straight wins, still haven’t announced who will start Game 3.