Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt (left) scores a run as Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) reaches for the ball in the fourth inning in game three of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at Comerica Park.(Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Finally, the Tigers scored some runs.
Three of them, in the fourth inning.
Victor Martinez doubled, snapping a 20-inning scoreless streak. Jhonny Peralta singled, snapping a silent crowd back into a common sound: Cheers.
The Tigers and A's were tied.
But an inning later, Anibal Sanchez gave those runs right back and the Oakland A's didn't look back, beating the Tigers, 6-3, in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, putting their backs squarely against the wall.
A pair of fifth inning home runs from Brandon Moss and Seth Smith sunk Sanchez, and the Tigers couldn't tack on any more runs for a sellout crowd of 43,973 today at Comerica Park, which filed out in stunned silence.
The Tigers trail the best-of-three series, 2-1. The win guarantees Oakland at least a return trip home for a potential Game 5 on Thursday night.
An Oakland win Tuesday would send the Tigers home for the fall.
Moss' home run, a no-doubt, solo shot to right field proved to be the game-winner but Smith's two-run, opposite field home run - twisting and turning and eventually falling just feet over the left-center fence, thanks to a strong breeze toward right - proved to be the one that put Detroit away for good.
The runs were all young righty Jarrod Parker and the A's stellar bullpen would need.
L.M. Otero, Brandon Doolittle and Grant Balfour followed Parker's five innings with four scoreless of their own, and Balfour put the Tigers on the brink of elimination by retiringOmar Infante on a flyout to right for the save.
Sanchez wasn't sharp from the get-go, and the AL ERA champion turned in one of his worst outings of the year.
He allowed six runs - five earned - on eight hits, including three home runs. He struck out six and walked two.
The three home runs tied the most he's given up as a Tiger.
The unearned run came in the third inning with two outs, on a Yoenis Cespedes' smash that Miguel Cabrera could not corral at third base.
Oakland added two more runs in the fifth inning, when Josh Reddick homered to right to leadoff the inning and Coco Crisp sacrificed Stephen Vogt home.
The three-run deficit sent the midday crowd into a collective hush, briefly interrupted by that three-run inning in the fourth.
It stayed quiet until the ninth, when tempers flared between Balfour and Victor Martinez, who had words after a 1-2 foul ball.
Expletives were thrown, benches cleared, but nobody was thrown out and Martinez flied to right.
He went 1-for 4. Miguel Cabrera went 1-for-4. Torii Hunter went 1-for-3 and Austin Jackson, 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
The Tigers will live to play another day, and will lean on righty Doug Fister on Tuesday evening to try and ensure another day after that.
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.