10/12/12 3:26 AM ET
Seventh-inning rally spoiled any chance of comeback
By Jay Lee / MLB.com
"I don't know if you believe this, I told one of my coaches on the bench, I said, 'We need about a four-spot to take this crowd out of this thing,'" Leyland said.
The seventh inning would deliver the four-run frame for the Tigers that Leyland had sought, and though it may have done little to quiet the A's faithful, the six-run lead would give Verlander more than enough cushion to shut down the comeback-happy A's in a 6-0 win to advance to the American League Championship Series.
With a vintage Verlander enjoying masterful command on the mound, the A's would have had to catch some breaks if they wanted to spring one of their trademark late-game rallies, but little seemed to go their way in the seventh.
Oakland starter Jarrod Parker was lifted with runners on first and third with one out in the seventh, with Jhonny Peralta having reached on a sharp infield single that was deflected by Josh Donaldson at third and Omar Infante lining a soft single to right.
The Tigers were able to capitalize off reliever Ryan Cook, who came in for Parker, with Austin Jackson lining an 0-1 fastball from Cook to right field to drive in Peralta. After Quintin Berry walked to load the bases, Miguel Cabrera was hit by a pitch after falling behind 0-2 to give the Tigers their second run of the inning.
"I thought I could get one by him," Cook said. "I threw one up, fastball up and out of the zone hoping to get a swing-and-miss. It just got away from me."
Cook was pulled in favor of Jerry Blevins, who gave up two more runs on some unfortunate luck. Prince Fielder blooped a perfectly placed single in between the Oakland infield and Coco Crisp in center field to drive in Jackson, and Delmon Young's grounder got past shortstop Stephen Drew, with Drew's error allowing Berry to score.
"We had some breaks that didn't go our way, and there's not much you can do about that," Cook said. "Who knows what would have happened. We still might be playing."
When it was all said and done, the Tigers batted around as all four runs in the inning came off relievers, with two of them being charged to Parker. The A's weren't able to plate a run off Verlander by night's end -- let alone engineering a six-run comeback -- but they joined the Coliseum fans in not counting themselves out of the game.
"Obviously I didn't pitch the way I would have liked in order to keep us close, but you can never count us out," Cook said. "We came back to the dugout and we didn't quit. That's the one thing I will say that we have never done this season, and that is quit. We sure as heck didn't do it tonight. The fact that the fans were just as loud after, that's just amazing."
Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.