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Tigers, Fielder foiled in Game 3

Oakland avoids sweep

October 10, 2012
The Daily News

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Prince Fielder halted his home run trot when Coco Crisp snagged his fly at the top of the center-field wall in the second. He stopped stunned when shortstop Stephen Drew robbed a single from him in the fourth, and he slowed his sprint around first when Yoenis Cespedes made a diving catch in left in the seventh.

"I tried to go under coverage," Fielder said. "I couldn't go over it."

Or through it, either.

Article Photos

AP Photo
Detroit's Prince Fielder heads back to the dugout after Oakland's Coco Crisp snagged his fly at the top of the center-field wall in the second.

After grounding into a game-inning double play, Fielder and the rest of the Detroit Tigers had to hold off on the most important thing: another celebration.

Fielder finished 0 for 4 to highlight another poor performance at the plate for the Tigers, losing 2-0 to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their AL division series. Detroit leads the best-of-five series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Oakland.

"They played a perfect game," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Coco's catch really got them into it and it was a good baseball game. Runs are at a premium right now."

The Tigers' high-priced lineup could squeeze only four hits out of Brett Anderson, three relievers and the rest of the low-budget A's to spoil a solid start from fellow playoff newcomer Anibal Sanchez. Even more troubling, they have only one RBI off a hit - a solo home run by Alex Avila in Game 1 - in four games of this series, a troubling trend Leyland simply said before Tuesday's game had to change if the Tigers "want to close this thing out at some point."

Even the balls Detroit hit hard didn't drop.

Prince, who signed a $214 million, nine-year deal as a free agent from Milwaukee in the offseason, had perhaps the most frustrating night of all of Detroit's sluggers.

Crisp jumped against the padding, reached his glove at the top of the wall and made the grab leading off the second, forcing a stunned Fielder to stop his trot before second base. Crisp, who had a two-run error trying to make a basket catch on Miguel Cabrera's fly in Game 2, flexed his arms and screamed, "Whoo!"

"I thought I had a hit," Fielder said.

In the fourth, Drew dug out a grounder in the hole at short and threw across his body to nab Fielder at first. Then Cespedes, moving in and to his left, fully extended for a diving catch to get Fielder for the first out of the seventh. And after Cabrera singled in the ninth, Fielder hit a weak grounder to short for an easy double play.

What a Bay Area bummer for Detroit.

"It's frustrating," Fielder said. "But it's a good team you're playing. They're going to make those plays. That's why they're here."

Trying to avoid a sweep and extend Oakland's season at least one more day, Cespedes hit an RBI single off Sanchez to put the A's ahead in the first and Seth Smith homered in the fifth. Each highlight ignited a gold towel-waving crowd announced at 37,090.

Rookie right-hander A.J. Griffin is scheduled to start for Oakland in Game 4 against Max Scherzer. Game 5 would be in Oakland on Thursday, and Detroit ace Justin Verlander is ready to retake the mound if necessary.

 
 

 

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