The Oakland A's extended their miracle season on Tuesday night, defeating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 in Game 3, and getting a chance to even up the series on Wednesday.
The weird thing about the A's this season was that they did it without the young pitchers they were counting on at the beginning of 2011. Trevor Cahill went in a trade, Dallas Braden hurt his shoulder, and Brett Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery, which would put him out for most of the 2012 season. That's 60 percent of a rotation that the A's had to make up as they went along. There aren't too many teams that could avoid 90 losses when faced with that predicament.
But the A's did better than just make do. They thrived. And when Brett Anderson came back from his injury late in the season, it was almost a curiosity. Anything would be gravy.
He went 4-2 in six games, with a 2.57 ERA. That was some sweet, sweet gravy. But he tweaked his oblique, and wasn't a lock to come back in time for the playoffs.
The gravy just keeps getting sweeter. In Game 3, Anderson pitched six innings against the Tigers, allowing two hits and two walks, striking out six. He's not just a good story on top of the 2012 success -- he's a big part of what the A's are trying to do. Which isn't much if they can't win two more games. But if they can, Anderson looks like he can help a lot.
Anderson allowed exactly one fly ball all night. That would be this:
The A's built a 1-0 lead on Yoenis Cespedes' RBI single in the first, but Prince Fielder threatened to tie the game up with one swing. Coco Crisp ranged back and jumped at the fence, robbing Fielder of a home run.
Here's the second fly ball hit by the Tigers:
That was also hit by Prince Fielder, who wasn't enjoying the A's defensive show as much as some of us.
Seth Smith padded the A's lead in the sixth inning with a solo home run to center field off Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who went 6⅓, allowing two runs on five hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
After Anderson's six innings, the A's went to their tried/true bullpen collective. Ryan Cook pitched the seventh, allowing a hit. Sean Doolittle struck out the side in the eighth, letting out a war whoop after the final strikeout. And Grant Balfour closed it out, striking out the first batter he faced before allowing a single to Miguel Cabrera. Fielder grounded into a game-ending double play, however, giving the A's a 2-0 win, and extending their season to a Game 4 tomorrow.
You should probably avoid eye contact if you run into Prince Fielder tonight.