Some sadist who enjoys watching baseball teams sweat decided to give us the five-game playoff series.

As the folks at M.I.T. will confirm lose the opening game of a five-gamer and you now are obliged to beat a good baseball team three of the next four matches if you hope to advance in baseball’s postseason tournament.

It’s a pressurized assignment. And manager Jim Leyland’s team pretty much confirmed Friday night the degree to which nerves and percentages chew at teams in October as they beat the A’s 3-2 in Game 1 of their Division Series at O.co Coliseum.

They were dealing with a stacked deck in Game 1 playing on the road against an A’s team that had ended the regular schedule playing about as well as any club in the big leagues.

But an inning into Friday’s contest the Tigers suddenly had two in the plus column: a 3-0 lead and Max Scherzer on the mound pitching like the Cy Young Award winner he probably will be when the ballots are revealed next month.

“He’s always tough he won 21 games” said Bob Melvin the A’s manager as he tried to suppress the bitterness of losing yet another playoff game to the Tigers and to Leyland. “If you don’t see him that often his fastball gets on you a bit quicker. He has such good extension.”

Complementing Cabrera

The Tigers won Friday for two reasons one of which came as no surprise: Scherzer is the Kentucky Derby winner in the Tigers’ starting pitching stable. He is the horse who carried the Tigers the farthest and in the most fabled of fashions in 2013.

And while he did his job Friday pitching brilliantly through seven innings it was on offense that the Tigers got their essential lesson.

They must win with extra-base hits from batters other than Miguel Cabrera.

There was the secret to their three-run first-inning outburst that became their sole assault against A’s pitching. They got two doubles in the first by Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez which with the help of a walk and two singles handed Scherzer a lead he and his bullpen mates wrapped and ribboned into a first-game playoff gift for Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and a few million fans back home.

Those three runs were going to be it for Leyland’s guys. They have had their problems with the scoreboard this year particularly since Cabrera’s swing began losing some of its old pop when groin and lower-abdomen ills struck during the past couple of months. And they did nothing but etch zeroes for the remainder of Game 1.