After three games of near silence, Detroit's bats finally erupted on Tuesday. The Tigers blasted two game-tying home runs -- one from Jhonny Peralta and another from Victor Martinez -- and finally managed to get out of the habit of scoring in three-run bursts every other game.
Things looked to be going Oakland's way for much of the early going, but Detroit kept on fighting back.
Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie led the offensive attack for the A's: Crisp got things started early, tripling to left-center on the second pitch of the game then scoring on Lowrie's one-out single through the five hole to give the A's a 1-0.
Lowrie extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth after Crisp notched his second hit of the day, blasting a two-run home run to right field just beyond the extended glove of Torii Hunter.
A's starter Dan Straily was in control early, holding the struggling Tigers offense hitless through the first four innings. Detroit finally got to the right-hander in the fifth, when Jhonny Peralta followed back-to-back singles from Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez with a three-run home run to left. (Also just out of the reach of an outfielder. This, along with ulcers and shortness of breath, was the game's leitmotif .)
Despite their best efforts to maintain the tie, the Tigers couldn't keep things knotted at 3-3 for long. Detroit brought in Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer to work the seventh in relief of Fister, but he couldn't get past Coco Crisp. With Stephen Vogt on second, Crisp slapped an RBI single to center -- giving him three hits in two straight games -- to help the A's to a 4-3 lead.
Though Straily was at just 76 pitches (and eight Ks) through six frames, A's manager Bob Melvin elected to go with Sean Doolittle for the seventh.
Then things got weird.
Victor Martinez started the inning with a deep drive that it looked like right fielder Josh Reddick had a bead on. Reddick backed up to the wall, leapt and then this happened:
That would be a fan just about to fumble the ball with his hands, denying Reddick a chance of robbing V-Mart of a game-tying home run. The hit was ruled a home run on the field -- it did clear the fence -- and after an instant replay review the umpires decided to leave it as called, tying the game at 4-4.
Doolittle did his best to escape the inning without further damage, but couldn't get the third out. A double from Peralta and an RBI single from Austin Jackson put the Tigers ahead 5-4.
Things looked bleak for the Tigers when Scherzer got into a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the eighth, but the right-hander managed to escape the frame without surrendering the lead thanks to Ks of Reddick and Game 3 hero Stephen Vogt. Pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo hit a hard line drive right at Austin Jackson to end the inning.
The A's weren't so fortunate in the bottom half of the eighth in their own bases-loaded scenario. Left-hander Brett Anderson was brought in to get the final out of the inning, but walked his first batter on four pitches then threw a wild pitch to allow a runner to score from third. Omar Infante followed the wild pitch with a bases-clearing double, extending the Tigers' lead to 8-4.
Oakland tried to rally the troops against Joaquin Benoit in the ninth, but fell just short. Yoenis Cespedes knocked a two-run single to center to trim the lead to 8-6, but that's all the A's could muster. With the tying run at the plate, Benoit got Seth Smith swinging to end the insanity and send the series back to Oakland for a rubber match.