Scherzer came out of the bullpen in the seventh and gave up a run, then ran into trouble again in the eighth. With the Tigers ahead 5-4, he allowed a walk and a double to start the inning. But after an intentional walk to load the bases, Leyland left his ace on the mound.
Scherzer struck out Reddick, who swung and missed at what would have been ball four on a low, inside pitch. Stephen Vogt struck out too, but pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo’s line drive to left nearly fell in before landing foul.
Callaspo eventually lined out to center.
“It was surreal,” said Scherzer, the winning pitcher in both Detroit victories this series. “Maybe it’s not the ninth inning, but that’s the stuff you dream about pitching — bases loaded, eighth inning, no outs, and I was able to do it.”
Detroit, held hitless through four innings in a game of twists and turns, added three runs in the eighth on a wild pitch and a two-run double by Omar Infante that made it 8-4.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run single in the ninth, bringing the potential tying run to the plate, but Joaquin Benoit struck out Seth Smith to end it.
Crisp had four hits and three runs for the A’s, who led 3-0 and 4-3 but couldn’t close out the defending American League champions. The Oakland bullpen hadn’t allowed a run all series until Tuesday.
After Crisp put the A’s ahead 4-3 with an RBI single off Scherzer in the seventh, Martinez lifted a fly to right against reliever Sean Doolittle. It would have been an extremely difficult catch for Reddick, and it looked as though the ball might have cleared the wall even without the fans’ involvement.
It was certainly an anxious wait while umpires reviewed the play, which brought back memories of Derek Jeter’s fan-aided homer against Baltimore in the 1996 AL championship series at Yankee Stadium.
Detroit starter Doug Fister allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings before being relieved by Scherzer, who came back on three days’ rest after his victory in Game 1.
Oakland took the series lead with a win in Game 3, and Crisp’s leadoff triple Tuesday put the Tigers on their heels again. Detroit brought the infield in — a sign that even one run could be vital — and Crisp scored on Jed Lowrie’s one-out single, putting immediate pressure on the Tigers‘ slumbering offense.
It appeared the Athletics were on their way to the ALCS when Lowrie’s two-run homer in the fifth gave Oakland a three-run lead. With slugger Miguel Cabrera still hobbled by injuries, A’s rookie Dan Straily held the Tigers hitless until the fifth.
But after a bloop single by Prince Fielder, Martinez grounded a base hit to right. Peralta, who moved from shortstop to left field after returning from his late-season drug suspension, lined one over the wall in left, finally bringing the Comerica Park fans to life.