Crisp’s walkoff RBI single lifts A’s over Tigers, forces Game 5
Oakland, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Veteran outfielder Coco Crisp delivered a walkoff RBI single off closer Jose Valverde to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers and force a decisive Game 5 in the American League Division Series Wednesday at Oakland Coliseum.
The game-winning hit was Crisp’s fourth while the walkoff victory was the Athletics’ 15th this season, and most importantly, it forced a winner-take-all showdown Thursday.
“Once Coco got up, we knew we were going to win that game, no doubt in our minds,” said Josh Reddick, who started the rally with a leadoff single, before Josh Donaldson followed with a double. “He’s come through for us so many times in the bottom of the ninth. We had zero doubt in our minds that he was going to get a base hit.”
Seth Smith then brought Reddick and Donaldson home with a double before Crisp hammered the game-clinching hit that brought the Athletics back from the grave after being down 2-0.
It was Oakland’s seventh postseason walk-off win and first since Ramon Hernandez hit a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the bottom of the 12th inning to propel the A’s to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox in Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS.
“The emotion these guys feel and what I feel, it’s almost uncontainable right now,” Donaldson said. “Obviously we don’t ever want to be behind in the ninth, but we definitely feel confident in that situation. We’ve been there so many times. It is a little bit different situation with the season on the line, but that’s just how we’ve been playing all year.”
For most part of the game, Detroit appeared headed for a victory as starter Max Scherzer surrendered just one earned run on three hits with eight strikeouts.
The Tigers, for their part, scored two early runs behind an RBI single by Austin Jackson in the 3rd and a solo shot by Prince Fielder in the 4th against A’s rookie AJ Griffin, who was making his first postseason start.
Griffin finished with two earned runs on seven hits and one strikeout but it was Ryan Cook (1-0) who clinched the victory with a scoreless ninth. Valverde (0-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs in the ninth.
“Yeah, well, it’s baseball,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I mean, that’s why this is the greatest game of all. 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.”
“I think this is one of the toughest moments I’ve had in all my career,” Valverde said. “It’s tough, but you have to be ready for tomorrow. You have to be serious for the game.”