video thumbnail

Griffin previews potential Game 4 start

OAKLAND -- Well, it turns out we've got ourselves a series.

The A's came back to their cozy climes in the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday night and did what they've been doing a lot of around these parts: winning. With a 2-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers, the A's staved off elimination and gained a bit of momentum heading into Game 4 of the American League Division Series, Wednesday night at 9:30 ET on TNT.

They realize they've got a long way to go. Even if they tie up the series, they'll have to deal with Detroit ace Justin Verlander in Game 5, and Verlander was phenomenal in Game 1 in Comerica Park, striking out 11 A's in seven innings.

But Oakland approached Tuesday concentrating on winning one game, and that's what A's manager Bob Melvin said they'd do Wednesday.

In fact, when he was asked if he felt that Tuesday's win would get the A's added momentum, Melvin gave his shortest answer of the postgame news conference.

"Gets us to tomorrow," he said. "We'll go at it in the same fashion that we did tonight. And we'll go from there."

Detroit will do the same, having been the Game 3 victim of a fresh starter in A's lefty Brett Anderson, who returned from a stint on the sidelines and delivered six scoreless innings, not to mention a resurgent A's defense.

Coco Crisp, who had dropped a short Miguel Cabrera fly ball in Game 2 that led to two runs, took a run away from Prince Fielder on Tuesday when he leaped at the wall and caught a deep fly in the second inning. In the seventh inning, Fielder was robbed of extra bases when Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes dove to snare a sinking liner off his bat.

Just as the A's found out in Detroit while falling into an 0-2 hole, being home can have its advantages.

"I think you're seeing the atmosphere in Detroit, [the] atmosphere in Oakland," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "If you look around, all the teams have great atmosphere at this time of the year. ... They've got the yellow towels. And we had the white pompoms going. The atmosphere is going to be great no matter where you play this time of year. They played a perfect game. You tip your hat to them."

The Tigers are starting another right-handed strikeout specialist in Game 4 in Max Scherzer. The A's are starting another rookie in 24-year-old A.J. Griffin. After three nail-biters, it would be unwise to expect a blowout either way.

One thing to bank on, however, is that the A's are facing elimination again and the fans at the Coliseum will be trying to prevent that notion themselves. They'll be loud, and that's just the way the A's like it.

"I think each day [our confidence is] growing," A's closer Grant Balfour said. "The more we win, the better we feel, obviously -- the closer we are to being where we want to be. We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves.

"They've still got two games and we've got one. We're going to go out there tomorrow, we're going to play the way we did today, and I like our chances. We're going to go at it hard."

Tigers: Scherzer says he's strong
Scherzer said he's had plenty of time to recover from the recent soreness in his right shoulder that caused him to skip a start in late September, and he's over the ankle woes he sustained while celebrating the night the Tigers clinched the AL Central.

"My deltoid has been fine," said Scherzer, who went 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA this year and struck out 231 batters in 187 2/3 innings. "I was able to get treatment and after the second kind of setback, and after that we really took care of it. I needed more rest. And that's what we gave it.

"And so seeing how I was able to respond to it, have it be able to pitch at 100 percent, it's recovered fine. And I've been good ever since."

• Third baseman and AL Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera went 1-for-4 in Game 3 and has reached base safely in each of his 14 postseason games with the Tigers. That's the third-longest streak in Detroit history, behind Hank Greenberg (18) and Charlie Gehringer (16).

• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta hit .212 (55-for-259) in 72 games on the road this season, but he was the only Tigers plater with more than one hit in Game 3. Peralta went 2-for-2 and drew a walk to improve his ALDS average to .444.

A's: Griffin looking to bounce back
Griffin was willing to joke a bit when discussing how far he's come so quickly, having vaulted all the way to a Game 4 postseason start a year after he was pitching in the playoffs for Class A Stockton.

"The California League and the Major Leagues are pretty comparable," he said. "I'm just kidding. ... I didn't have a press conference this time last year like this or [anything]. But [the key is] just try to go out there and just have fun and be loose, not put too much pressure on yourself. It's still a game. You go out there and just try to enjoy it."

Griffin will be looking to improve upon his last start, in which he gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings in the game the A's would eventually win, 12-5, over Texas to wrap up the division title on the last day of the season.

"Against the Rangers last outing, I felt like I was making some good quality pitches, but they did a good job of staying on the pitches and just putting them in play," Griffin said. "And the ball just seemed to just evade our fielders, but in baseball that's how it goes sometimes. You've got to keep your head up and just go out there and keep playing."

• Griffin took his only defeat of the season in Detroit on Sept. 18, when he gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

• The A's shutout of the Tigers in Game 3 was the 11th postseason shutout in franchise history and the first since Oct. 11, 2001, against the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Worth noting
• The Tigers were shut out only twice in the regular season, the fewest of any team in the Majors. They were the last team in the Majors to be shut out, going 90 games from Opening Day to July 17, when the Angels held them without a run at Comerica Park.

• The A's have never come back from a 2-0 deficit to win a postseason series, and they had been swept in six of the previous seven in which they'd lost the first two. The only time they had come back to win a game was in the 1988 World Series, when Oakland took Game 3 against the Dodgers before losing the following two. Comments