Tigers tip hat to Anderson, Crisp, Coliseum crowd

October 10, 2012, 5:53 am
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OAKLAND Heres what Brett Anderson said Monday about his pitching style heading into a must-win Game 3 against the Detroit Tigers:My breaking ball is my bread and butter. Ill try to use my fastball to get ground balls and keep my pitch count down and get deeper in the ballgame.Making his first start since leaving an outing in Detroit with a right oblique strain after allowing three runs in 2.1 innings, Anderson stuck to his premeditated plan and it worked to perfection.They pitched and played a perfect game, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after the As cut his series lead to 2-1 with a 2-0 win. You have to tip your hat to them. Nothing you could do about it. He had a good curveball, had a very good breaking ball.Anderson mixed his breaking ball with a lively fastball to work six scoreless innings and allow his manager Bob Melvin to turn the ball over to his premium bullpen arms in Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour to complete the shutout.We just didnt do much offensively and you credit their pitching, Leyland said after watching his hitters go 2-for-10 with five strikeouts following Anderson's exit. Their bullpen is really nasty. Cook, Doolittle, Balfour, theyre really good. And their starter tonight gave them what they needed. It set up perfect for them tonight. They took advantage of that and they earned it. Pretty simple.Game 3 started simply enough for Anderson, who struck out the first two batters he faced in a 1-2-3 first inning that required just eight pitches. But the next frame was anything but simple. Tigers slugger Prince Fielder hit a line drive that appeared headed for a sure hit at least off the centerfield wall if not over it. But Coco Crisp used his speed to get to the wall and his legs to leap over it and rob Fielder of a likely home run. That ended up being the only fly ball out of Andersons night. He got ten groundouts and six more by way of the strikeout.I think Coco gave them a lot of momentum when he took the home run away from Fielder, Leyland said.Prince wasnt willing to give Crisp credit for shifting the momentum of the game, but he did tip his hat to a player who just two days earlier cost his team immensely when he dropped a fly ball in a crucial spot in Game 2.I thought I had a hit, Fielder said. It was a good play. Thats what hes supposed to do.Fielders frustration was just starting to mount, however. He stepped back into the batters box against Cook in the seventh and hit a line drive to shallow left that Yoenis Cespedes charged and caught as he fell into a tuck and roll.Tried to go under coverage; couldnt go over it. But they caught that one too, Fielder said with a dry wit that was fitting for a 200 million man that went 0-for-4, including a game-ending double play. Its frustrating. But these are good teams youre playing. Theyre going to make those plays; thats why theyre here.Anderson, even though he was limited to just six regular season starts due to Tommy John surgery and the oblique strain, is a big reason why the As are here and still alive and kicking in this playoff series. He showed no signs of rust in his first career postseason start, even though he admitted after the game that he was pitching through pain.He was able to establish that fastball in and hes got that tough slider and that breaking ball he was able to mix in, Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said. He kind of settled in and found his groove and we just couldnt get him out of it.Anderson only needed 80 pitches, which Melvin later said was a predetermined pitch count, to make it through his six shutout innings because he was consistently hitting As catcher Derek Norris target.He didnt throw too many mistakes, Fielder said. Curveball was working. He hit his spotsthat always helps.Leyland wasnt surprised the As starter was so sharp despite the layoff. He explained that it was his faith in Melvin, not his knowledge of Anderson, that led to his high expectations.Bob Melvin is pretty smart, Leyland said. If he had not felt totally comfortable with him he would not have pitched him in this game they dont do foolish things here.Anderson made Leylands hitters look foolish and that made the Coliseums capacity crowd get so loud that it impressed Oaklands guests.The crowd was really electric tonight and got them going, Laird said. This is the environment we thought it would be like.Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who pitched well but couldnt match Anderson, said that it was the loudest stadium he had pitched in.Detroit they have pretty good fans, Sanchez said. Tigers fans really cheer for the team. They support the team and give you a loud ovation for everything. But the fans here are so loud you cant hear anything from your teammates, so you just hear fans yell. But its really fun.With his Tigers still up 2-1 in the series, Sanchez may avoid a Kangaroo Court fine for calling a loss in enemy territory fun, but plenty of his teammates are not sleeping on the As.We just know theyre a great team, period, Laird said. To win your division, especially beating Texas out in the West, we knew what we were coming into. We just got to come out here and win one game. We knew they werent going to roll over; we knew they were going to come ready to play and they did tonight.

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