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Tigers ride Justin Verlander back to ALCS
Oakland struck out 50 times in a series of swings and misses riding high only a week ago after stunning the two-time reigning AL champion Rangers on the regular season’s final day to win the AL West. The Ks were the most in A’s franchise history for a five-game series.
Josh Reddick, who hit a team-leading 32 homers, struck out 10 times for the most by an A’s player in a postseason series.
The A’s payroll of $59.5 million is lowest in the majors. But the last game was the only lopsided one.
Detroit eliminated Oakland again after the Tigers pulled off a four-game sweep in the 2006 AL championship series — the last postseason appearance by the A’s.
“We didn’t think it was going to end today, not for a second,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We knew we were going up against a good pitcher. That didn’t mean we didn’t think we were going to win. We’ve gone up against good pitchers this year. And it’s a bit of a shock when it finally does end. It was a heck of a story. It was a heck of a run for us.”
Leyland won this one the hard way.
In 1997 with this same playoff format — featuring the higher seed opening on the road for the first two games — Leyland’s Florida Marlins won the first two games at home then completed a three-game sweep of the NL division series against the favored San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on the way to a World Series title. That is Leyland’s lone championship in 21 years as a manager.
The Tigers‘ three stolen bases matched the team record in postseason game, done so for the first time since Oct. 5, 1984, against Kansas City.
NOTES: The only person with more Ks than Reddick in a division was Seattle’s Bret Boone with 11 in 2001. … The A’s have lost eight of their last nine postseason series. … Cabrera has reached base safely in all 16 of his postseason games with the Tigers. … Verlander is Detroit’s all-time postseason leader in strikeouts (70) and wins (5). … MC Hammer, former A’s bat boy and club executive, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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