The Detroit Tigers were looking old and vulnerable in the post-season against the Oakland A’s, their mighty bats having turned cold highlighted by the continued struggles of Miguel Cabrera, who is battling nagging injuries.
So when Austin Jackson came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with two out and the bases loaded in a tense, tie ballgame, you sensed that this would be Detroit’s last gasp.
Jackson swung at the pitch from Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle and the bat of the Detroit outfielder was sawed off on the handle.
But he still managed to muscle the ball into right field, scoring the run that gave the Tigers their first lead in the series.
The Tigers would go on to post an 8-6 victory to tie the best-of-five American League Division Series 2-2 and send it back to Oakland for a deciding fifth game that will be played on Thursday.
Mitch Album writes in the Detroit Free Press that the Tigers suddenly have a heartbeat, even if it took shock therapy to find it.
The game also featured a rare relief appearance from a Detroit starter, Max Scherzer, who pulled off an improbable Houdini act writes John Niyo in the Detroit News.
Oakland’s Josh Reddick struck out against Scherzer in the top of the eighth inning with the bases load to help squander a great opportunity for the A’s to get back into it.
Reddick, writes Mark Purdy in the Oakland Mercury News, admits that flushing away the might-have-beens for Game 5 will be a challenge for the A’s.
In the other divisional showdown, the Boston Red Sox – a year after finishing last in the A.L. East – toppled the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to move on to the championship series.
Tampa manager Joe Maddon utilized nine pitchers to try to get past the Red Sox, seemingly more players than the Rays have fans writes Gordon Edes on ESPN.com.
Hertl leads the Sharks with four goals
There is an unlikely name atop the National Hockey League scoring race by the name of Tomas Hertl, a 19-year-old rookie for the San Jose Sharks.
Hertl was unstoppable, scoring four goals as the Sharks shellacked the New York Rangers 9-2.
Hirtl’s fourth goal was a thing of beauty, a between-the-legs shot that completely fooled New York goalie Martin Biron.
He became the first teenager to record a four-goal game since Jimmy Carson did it for the Los Angeles Kings on March 30, 1988.
In Toronto, the unbeaten streak of the Maple Leafs came to a sudden halt as the Colorado Avalanche skated Toronto into the ice for a 2-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre.
With the win the Avs have now accomplished something under new head coach Patrick Roy that they didn’t accomplish all last season writes Adrian Dater in the Denver Post – win three in a row.
In Vancouver, the storyline was the return of Cory Schneider as a member of the New Jersey Devils to face Roberto Luongo and the Canucks.
Brad Ziemer writes in the Vancouver Sun that as far as Luongo is concerned the only thing that mattered was the 3-2 Vancouver win in overtime.
Stoudemire injured -- again
The news is not good for the New York Knicks as they head out on a three-game road trip to begin the preseason with Amar’e Stoudemire once again on the shelf with a knee injury.
Stoudemire’s continued struggles prompted team star Carmelo Anthony to wonder if he’ll ever get the chance to play with his teammate at full strength writes Mitch Abramson in the New York Daily News .
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