A's extend magic run with dramatic rally
Coco Crisp's RBI single caps ninth-inning comeback to force Game 5 against Detroit.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Seth Smith, Coco Crisp and the never-say-die Oakland Athletics forced a Game 5 of their AL Division Series against the Detroit Tigers with their most memorable comeback yet.
Smith hit a tying two-run double off closer Jose Valverde in the ninth inning, then Crisp capped another dramatic rally with a two-out RBI single as the A's staved off elimination for a second straight night with a 4-3 victory in Game 4 Wednesday night.
"There's a confidence," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We've done it so many times so there's always going to be that confidence until we make that last out."
The A's rode 14 walkoff wins in the regular season to an improbable AL West title, but those paled in comparison to No. 15, which set up a win-or-go-home Game 5 against Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
Josh Reddick started the rally with a single just under the glove of diving second baseman Omar Infante. Josh Donaldson followed with a double off the wall in left-center, and both runners scored on Smith's double. Two outs later, Crisp lined a single and Smith scored easily when right fielder Avisail Garcia couldn't handle the ball.
That set off a raucous celebration near first base as the A's poured out of the dugout to mob Crisp, who was the recipient of a whipped cream pie that became a regularity in this remarkable season in Oakland. This marked the second time the A's erased a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to win a postseason game, the other coming in Game 5 of the 1929 World Series.
The A's, who have the lowest payroll in baseball, need just one more surprising result to win their second postseason series since 1990. Rookie Jarrod Parker will take the mound in Game 5 on Thursday night against Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young winner and MVP.
The Tigers looked to be in prime position to advance to their second straight ALCS and have a rested Verlander for Game 1 when they took a 3-1 lead into the ninth behind a homer from Prince Fielder and a strong start from Max Scherzer.
"That's why this is the greatest game of all," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It looked like we were going to get it. We didn't do it. We didn't quite get the 27 outs, that's part of the game. You get tested all the time in this game. And this is a good test."
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