By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – They said he was the best pitcher in the Major League. He proved that tonight as he shut out the team no one thought would make it this far.
The Detroit Tigers advanced to the American League Championship Series after handing the Oakland A’s a 6-0 loss. Justin Verlander dominated in all areas to keep the A’s off the board.
“It’s tough to come this far and have it end,” Pitcher Grant Balfour said. “I just didn’t picture it this way. Verlander’s a great pitcher, but honestly I thought that something crazy might happen today and we’d go out there and pull it out, but it didn’t work out that way so we’ve got to hold our heads high. We had a great year. It’s frustrating when your that close and you feel you’ve got a taste of it and it’s taken away from you.”
Oakland did more than just make it to the postseason, they earned the respect from everyone in the Major League. With an incredible performance since the MLB All-Star break, the A’s set a record in the month of July for walk-off wins.
Coco Crisp had the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth last night for the seventh walk-off in Oakland’s history. The A’s are also the first team in Major League History to start three different rookie pitchers in a postseason.
“We have nothing to hang our heads about,” said Brandon Moss. “Do we wish we were still playing? Absolutely. But what we did throughout the course of the season, where we ended up, how everyone contributed, we have a lot to be proud of.”
The Tigers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the third frame when Omar Infante single to left field, then on a wild pitch he advanced to second. Austin Jackson RBI double scored Infante. Quintin Berry’s sacrifice fly advanced Jackson to third and on another wild pitch he scored.
Jarrod Parker made his second career postseason start in five days. He lasted 6 2/3 innings having surrendered only two runs. But Ryan Cook out of the bullpen allowed both of Parker’s base runners to score in what seemed like an inning that would never end.
“When your facing that kind of pitching, you just try to get the runs whenever you can,” Prince Fielder said. “Today, they were facing our guy as well. We knew if we got him a couple, we had a good shot. I’m just glad we were able to come away with it.”
Johnny Peralta leadoff the seventh with a single, Austin’s RBI single added another run. After loading the bases, Cook walked in the next batter. Two more runs were scored, including an error at shortstop. The 6-0 lead was too hard to recover against a pitcher like Justin.
“When Verlander gets on a roll like he was today, especially once he gets into his rhythm, you get into the middle innings and he’s rolling along pretty good, it’s tough to stop him,” said manager Bob Melvin. “It’s like a locomotive going at high speed. He was tough to deal with.”
The story book year has come to end for Oakland. With no regrets, they did everything they were supposed to do without a multimillion dollar roster. Every single person on the roster contributed to their wins and still made it a spectacular season for the fans in the Bay Area.
“You look past this night right here, we conquered a lot,” Johnny Gomes said. “I think we brought baseball back to Oakland. Wearing the green and gold and the white spikes, I think it’s something to be wanted.”