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Verlander became the fifth pitcher to start a winner-take-all playoff game the year after winning the Cy Young — and the first to win. In all four previous instances, that pitcher’s team lost the game: Steve Carlton (1981 Phillies), David Cone (1995 Yankees), Barry Zito (2003 Athletics), and Roy Halladay (2011 Phillies).

“When you’re going into pressure situations like this, there’s nobody better to have on the mound than Justin,” Jackson said.

Verlander followed up an 11-strikeout outing in Detroit’s 3-1 Game 1 win Saturday at Comerica Park with another overpowering performance in his 10th postseason start. He improved to 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in three postseason starts against the A’s and also upped his career mark to 5-4 with 2.15 ERA in 10 starts at the Coliseum.

Verlander had allowed one earned run with a 0.69 ERA in beating the A’s twice during the regular season.

“He’s always tough. You go out there and you battle him the best that you can,” Crisp said. “Today he had some of his best stuff of the year.”

Detroit finally got to party in a visiting clubhouse that for the sixth straight game was prepped for a possible clinch celebration.

The Texas Rangers were in town last week needing one victory to win the AL West but dropped all three to lose the division to the surprising A’s in Game No. 162.

On Wednesday night, plastic covering the floor and lockers was torn down in all of about 40 seconds after Valverde allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth as Oakland won with another walkoff in a season full of them.

After Seth Smith grounded out to end the game, the A’s stayed on the field to greet the fans who were still on their feet chanting “Let’s Go Oakland!” Verlander waved toward the Oakland players in a classy acknowledgment.

Detroit’s offense did more than enough to give Verlander a cushion on another relatively quiet night by Cabrera and Fielder, the team’s $214 million cleanup hitter.

Cabrera went five straight games without an RBI on four different occasions during the regular season, but didn’t extend that to the playoffs when Ryan Cook plunked him with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Oakland’s miscues on the mound only helped matters.

Omar Infante singled to start the third inning against A’s starter Jarrod Parker, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Then, with Cabrera batting after Jackson’s double and a sacrifice by Quintin Berry that moved him up a base, Parker threw another wild pitch that allowed Jackson to score.

The upstart A’s were attempting to become the ninth team to rally from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series, but couldn’t match the cross-bay Giants after San Francisco won at Cincinnati earlier in the day to reach the NLCS.

So much for all that chatter about another Bay Bridge World Series in Northern California like the earthquake-interrupted Series in 1989 swept by the A’s.

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