Continued from page 1

“It’s frustrating. But it’s a good team you’re playing,” Fielder said. “They’re going to make those plays, that’s why they’re here.”

After Cabrera singled with one out in the ninth, Fielder grounded into a game-ending double play.

The A’s own the lowest payroll in baseball at $59.5 million. Fielder is getting big money in Motown: $214 million over nine years.

Anderson, back on the mound for the first time since straining a muscle in his right side Sept. 19 at Detroit, worked quickly and showed no signs of a layoff or jitters in his first postseason start.

That’s just not the way the A’s have operated this year.

Last week, Oakland entered its final three-game series of the regular season needing to sweep the two-time reigning AL champion Rangers to capture the AL West — and the A’s did it, sending a stunned Texas team to the one-game wild card, which it lost to Baltimore.

A club with a majors-best 14 walkoff wins and countless whipped cream pie celebrations snapped the longest postseason skid in franchise history at six games. All of those against the Tigers, too.

The Tigers are trying to reach second straight AL championship series after losing last year’s ALCS in six games to the Rangers.

Detroit captured the AL Central in Oakland last year and is hoping for another clinching party as soon as possible.

Anderson did his job to delay it.

He insisted he was healthy and ready to go — and manager Bob Melvin took his pitcher at his word and gave him a shot in his biggest start yet. Anderson had shown plenty when he returned in August following a 14-month absence recovering from elbow-ligament replacement surgery and made six impressive starts.

Not feeling quite 100 percent, he allowed two hits, struck out six and walked two in six innings. He was on a pitch count of 80 and was done at exactly that, though was never told about it beforehand.

“I don’t know how you could expect more than we got out of him tonight,” Melvin said.

Next, the reliable bullpen took over.

Ryan Cook pitched the seventh, Sean Doolittle struck out the side in order in the eighth and closer Grant Balfour finished the four-hitter for a save. The A’s staff pitched the 11th postseason shutout by the franchise, while the Tigers were blanked for the 13th time in the postseason.

Story Continues →