They're still alive. The Detroit Tigers left for dead by many after their offensive struggles spilled over from the regular season into the playoffs flexed some offensive muscle Tuesday night and forced a decisive Game 5 in their American League Division Series with the Oakland Athletics. Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez hit clutch home runs and Austin Jackson drove in the go-ahead run with a broken-bat single in the seventh inning as the Tigers rallied from behind twice to pull out a 8-6 victory over the A's. Max Scherzer worked out of a bases-loaded no-out jam in the top of the eighth inning to preserve a 5-4 lead. The Tigers tacked on three runs in the bottom of the eighth to make it 8-4. The A's scored two runs in the top of the ninth on a two-run single by Yoenis Cespedes. Joaquin Benoit struck out Seth Smith who represented the tying run for the final out of the game. Game 5 is set for Thursday night in Oakland. Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers. Right-hander Bartolo Colon is expected to start for the A's. The Tigers scored in just two innings in the first three games of the series and struggled early in this one. A's starter Dan Straily faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings before Prince Fielder led off the fifth with a bloop single for Detroit's first hit. Martinez singled through the right side of the infield to put two on with nobody out and Peralta followed with a three-run home run to tie the game at 3-3. The game remained tied until Coco Crisp had an RBI single off relief pitcher Max Scherzer in the top of the seventh to make it 4-3. But the Tigers bounced right back when Martinez greeted relief pitcher Sean Doolittle with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. That tied it at 4-4. Peralta followed the Martinez home run with a double and was replaced by pinch-runner Andy Dirks. After Doolittle retired the next two hitters he walked No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias. A's manager Bob Melvin stuck with the left-handed Doolittle against Jackson who had struck out in his first three at-bats in the game and was hitless in 13 at-bats since leading off Game 1 with a double. Jackson swung at missed at the first pitch fouled off the next two pitches and then broke his bat on a soft line drive that fell just in front of right fielder Josh Reddick to score Dirks and give his team a 5-4 lead. Things got a bit dicey in the bottom of the inning but the Tigers never gave the lead back. Now they're headed back to Oakland.
Tigers rally to earn thrilling 8-6 win to force Game 5
Michigan Live | Oct 9