Anibal Sanchez was the AL’s top pitcher during the regular season with an ERA of 2.57.
On Monday, the visiting Oakland A’s didn’t seem to take notice.
Oakland hopped on Sanchez for eight hits and six runs in only 4 1/3 innings en route to a crucial 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the ALDS. The Tigers’ starter threw 101 pitches on the afternoon and had just given up a two-run home run to Seth Smith before being relieved in the fifth inning. Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss also homered off Sanchez. Monday was the first time Sanchez had surrendered multiple home runs all season.
Coco Crisp went 3-for-4 for Oakland, and Smith had two hits and two RBIs. Prince Fielder finished 2-for-4 and Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante, and Torii Hunter each recorded a hit for Detroit.
The A’s struck first when Cabrera misfielded a hard grounder at third base from Yoenis Cespedes in the third inning. Coco Crisp scored on the play to put the A’s up 1-0.
Reddick homered to lead off the fourth, and Stephen Vogt tripled at the next at-bat. After Eric Sogard grounded out, Coco Crisp scored Vogt on a sacrifice fly to left field.
Detroit responded in the bottom of the fourth with three runs of their own when Victor Martinez doubled to right, scoring Torii Hunter. The next batter, Jhonny Peralta, singled to score Prince Fielder and Martinez.
Oakland opened up the fifth with Moss’ solo home run after Jed Lowrie struck out to lead off the inning. After a single by Cespedes, Smith homered to give the A’s a 6-3 lead.
Starter Jerrod Parker earned the win for Oakland, allowing five hits and three earned runs in five innings pitched. Dan Otero and Sean Dolittle pitched a combined three shutout innings for the A’s, and closer Dan Balfour earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
Tempers flared in the bottom of the ninth inning when Victor Martinez fouled off a 1-2 pitch from Balfour. Both Martinez and Balfour began to shout at each other until both benches cleared.
“I’m not really sure what happened,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “(Balfour) talks to himself quite a bit, I think sometimes players think maybe he’s talking to them.
After roughly a three minute delay, play resumed and Balfour forced Martinez to fly out before striking out Jhonny Peralta, walking Alex Avila, and forcing Omar Infante to fly out.
Game 4 of the ALDS is Tuesday at 5:07pm. Scheduled pitchers are Dan Straily (10-8) and Doug Fister (14-9).