Kelly’s walk-off sac fly carries Tigers over A’s
Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – Pinch-runner Don Kelly made two big plays, including a walk-off sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to lift the Tiger to a 5-4 win over the Oakland A’s for a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series Sunday at Comerica Park.
The Tigers now have three tries to clinch the series in Oakland. They will go for a sweep Tuesday with Anibal Sanchez on the mound against Brett Anderson.
“It was awesome,” said Kelly, who entered the game to run for Delmon Young in the eighth. “The crowd was into it and to be able to go up 2-0 in front of our home fans is huge.”
He then scampered home on a Ryan Cook wild pitch to tie the count at four before hitting the game-winning sacrifice fly that scored Omar Infante.
“It’s easier to win one, obviously, then to have to go out there and have to win two, so it’s a great feeling,” said Kelly, who was optioned by the Tigers to Triple-A Toledo in August before bringing him back a month later.
Doug Fisher pitched seven innings, surrendering two earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and was in line for a victory but Joaquin Benoit allowed two runs in the eighth frame that gave the A’s a 4-3 lead.
Al Albuquerque (1-0) got the win after grabbing Yoenis Cespedes’ comebacker in the eighth with two men on base.
A’s starter Tommy Milone was outstanding in his first career playoff start, limiting Detroit to just one run on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk in six innings but relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook gave up three runs in the seventh and eighth frames.
In the ninth, closer Grant Balfour (0-1) struck out Austin Jackson but allowed two singles and a walk to load the bases before Kelly’s game-winning sacrifice fly.
“We just need to win a game,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “We need to go home and concentrate on Tuesday. If you start thinking about three games ahead, then you lose your focus on Tuesday’s game.