OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s took a page out of their postseason past to remain alive in the postseason.
It wasn’t Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Rollie Fingers, but Brett Anderson, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Belfour did a pretty good impression during a 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday night.
The four Oakland pitchers held the Tigers to just four singles while combining to strike out 11 in front of a boisterous home sellout crowd of 37,090.
Losing for the first time in seven postseason games against Oakland, Detroit will try again Wednesday in Game 4 to wrap up the best-of-five series.
Anderson was making his first start since Sept. 19, when he left a regular-season game against the Tigers with a strained right oblique. Working down in the zone, the 24-year-old left-hander retired 10 Tigers on groundball outs. He induced one flyout and struck out six.
The A’s broke through in the first against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who was making his first career postseason start.
Coco Crisp singled to right field and advanced 90 feet on a full-count walk to Stephen Drew. Yoenis Cespedes singled to center to plate Crisp.
Sanchez escaped further damage by retiring Brandon Moss on a called third strike and inducing Josh Reddick into a groundball double play.
Anderson tippy-toed through the second inning, the only frame in the early portion of the game in which Detroit threatened. Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta singled after Crisp robbed Prince Fielder of extra bases with a running catch against the fence in right-center field.
Andy Dirks bounced into a fielder’s choice forceout, and Anderson gloved Avisail Garcia’s comebacker to keep retire the Tigers. It marked the only inning in the first five that Detroit produced hits.
Oakland tacked on the final run in the fifth. Designated hitter Seth Smith lifted a low fastball over the center field fence for a solo home run to snap a run of eight consecutive batters retired by Sanchez.
Cook was first out of the Oakland bullpen, and he was greeted by Fielder’s slicing liner to left that Cespedes put away with a diving catch. Peralta singled with two outs, Detroit’s first hit since the shortstop’s single in the second, but Cook capped his inning of work by retiring Dirks on a fly to left.
Doolittle, a rookie left-hander, had a masterful eighth, striking out Garcia, Gerald Laird and Austin Jackson.
Balfour bounced back from an extra-inning loss in Game 2 in Detroit on Sunday to close it out despite a small uprising in the ninth. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera singled to right to extend his postseason hitting streak to 14 straight, but Fielder bounced into a double play to end it.
NOTES: Oakland rookie A.J. Griffin is set to oppose Max Scherzer in Wednesday’s Game 4. Scherzer has been slowed recently by ankle and shoulder injuries. … The A’s have lost seven of their last eight postseason series dating back to the 1990 World Series. … Only 11 of the 25 players on Oakland’s postseason roster were also on the team’s Opening Day roster. … Only two Tigers have had longer postseason hitting streaks than Cabrera — 18 games by Hank Greenberg and 16 by Charlie Gehringer.