OAKLAND -- Ray Fosse's primal scream Cliff Pennington's one-man dog pile Coco Crisp's walk-off hit that made the Oakland Coliseum shake It's playoff baseball alright, but it feels different than it normally does. There's something undoubtedly special about what the A's are doing. It has felt like that since June 2, when they started surging and really never looked back with a 72-38 record the rest of the way en route to winning the American League West on the final game of the season. This after never holding sole possession of first place all year. Only eight teams in the history of Major League Baseball have come back from a 2-0 deficit in a best of five series. It can be done. Heck, the Giants just did it a few minutes ago. It only seemed fitting that the A's would be forced to try to do it themselves. If this season really is a script for Moneyball 2, as many have joked, then it can't be anything but overly dramatic. What's more dramatic than rallying from a two run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to force a win-or-go-home Game Five? Having to face the reigning MVP and Cy Young award-winner, Justin Verlander, who happens to be 3-0 against the A's this season in the elimination game. After going up 2-0 the Tigers are the team under pressure. "You know it's not easy to play here," Verlander said. "So we put ourselves in a position where we just need to win one.Whatever game that is, doesn't matter.So hopefully it's the fifth one." Verlander will be opposed by Jarrod Parker. At 23, he is the youngest player in the last 15 years to start a deciding playoff game. The youngest to do so was Jaret Wright who was 21 when he pitched for the Indians against the Marlins in Game Seven of the 1997 World Series. He lost. Mark Mulder was 24 when he took the hill for the A's in Game Five of the ALDS against the Yankees. He also lost. No pressure. "To us and as a team, a group, the pressure, it's not built by us," Parker said."It's not put on by us.We know we're playing the same game. And we love playing in front of our crowd. And we love playing at home."The Tigers have the Verlander advantage. Six years ago today he was the winning pitcher as the Detroit Tigers swept the A's in the ALCS in 2006. The A's have the momentum and they have the home field advantage. Including the postseason the Tigers are 38-45 on the road this season. Can that help them beat the Tigers' ace? In his three starts against the A's this season he has allowed a total of two runs. However, the A's have battled against him. He hasn't gone deeper than seven innings in any of the three starts. They've had their chances to do damage against him and have fallen just short. "I think you gain confidence from being on the verge," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "His stuff was a lot better last time and we still had some opportunities and still to a certain extent got his pitch count up there. I think any time you get him to a point where you get him out of the game in the seventh with a 120 pitches or some under his belt, you've done some good things." That gives the A's a chance to work against Detroit's bullpen. If Parker can limit the damage then the A's who lead Major League Baseball with 15 walk-off wins will have a chance for late-inning heroics. Anything can happen. It's the playoffs. All we know is that one team will be packing their bags and heading home, while the other will live to fight another day.
OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s claimed left-handed pitcher Giovanni Soto off waivers from the Chicago Cubs, the club announced Wednesday.
Soto began the 2016 season in the Indians organization but was traded to the Cubs on April 11 for cash considerations. He spent the entire season at Triple-A Iowa where he went 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA and .274 opponents batting average in 33 relief appearances. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out 55 batters in 49.0 innings but also walked 31.
He was designated for assignment on Saturday when the Cubs reinstated Kyle Schwarber from the 60-day disabled list.
Soto made his Major League debut with Cleveland in 2015 and did not allow a run or issue a walk in six games and 3.1 innings.
A native of Puerto Rico, Soto was selected by Detroit in the 21st round of the 2009 draft and was traded to the Indians July 28, 2010 for Jhonny Peralta and cash.
Kluber dominated into the seventh inning, Perez hit two home runs and the Indians beat the Cubs 6-0 in the opener Tuesday night. AL Championship Series MVP Andrew Miller escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh and got out of trouble in the eighth, preserving a three-run lead.
In a matchup between the teams with baseball's longest championship droughts, the Indians scored twice in the first inning off October ace Jon Lester and were on their way.
Perez drove in four runs - he became the first No. 9 batter to homer twice in a Series game, and the first Indians player to accomplish the feat. He hit a three-run drive to put it away.
Francisco Lindor added three hits as the Indians improved to 8-1 this postseason. Cleveland manager Terry Francona is now 9-0 in the Series, including sweeps by his Boston teams in 2004 and `07.
The Game 1 winner has taken the title in the last six Series and 17 of 19.
Trevor Bauer, trying to come back from a sliced pinkie, starts Game 2 for the Indians on Wednesday night against Jake Arrieta. Because the forecast called for an increased chance of rain later in the evening, Major League Baseball took the extraordinary step of moving up the first pitch by an hour to 7:08 p.m.
Kluber struck out eight in the first three innings. He combined with Miller and Cody Allen to fan 15.
With the Indians hoping for their first title since 1948 and the Cubs seeking their first since 1908, Lester stumbled in the opening inning.
Lester had been 3-0 in three Series starts with a 0.43 ERA.
Perez, who had three homers in 153 at-bats during the regular season, connected in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. His drive in the eighth was his third homer this postseason.
Teams that combined for 174 seasons of futility, America's biggest droughts since the Great Plains' Dust Bowl of the 1930s, captivated even many non-baseball fans.
On a night of civic pride, LeBron James and the NBA's Cavaliers received their championship rings next door prior to their season opener, and Cleveland hosted a World Series opener for the first time.
The Cubs had not played in the Series since five weeks after Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender ending World War II.
Kluber, whose win in the All-Star Game gave the AL home-field advantage on the Series, improved to 3-1 in the postseason and lowered his ERA to a sparkling 0.74. He is on track to start Games 4 and 7 in the manner of an old-style ace.
He was pitching on six days' rest this time, and his two-seam fastball was darting through the strike zone. He was helped by plate umpire Larry Vanover, whose generous calls on the low, outside corner contributed to 11 called strikeouts, six against Cubs batters.
Kyle Schwarber, making a surprise return in his first big league game since tearing knee ligaments on April 7, doubled off the right-field wall in the fourth - a drive kept in by a stiff wind on a 50-degree night. Kluber then got Baez to fly out.
Zobrist's leadoff double in the seventh finished Kluber, and Cleveland loaded the bases with no outs against Miller on Schwarber's walk and Javier Baez's single. Pinch-hitter Willson Contreras flied to Rajai Davis in short center, and Davis threw home rather than double up Schwarber, who had strayed far off second.
Using his intimidating slider, Miller struck out Addison Russell and David Ross to escape the jam, then fanned Schwarber to strand runners at the corners in the eighth, his 46th pitch. Miller has thrown 20 scoreless innings in postseason play, including 13 2/3 innings with 24 strikeouts this year.
Allen completed Cleveland's fourth postseason shutout and second in a row.
Ramirez also had three hits each for the Indians, who beat Toronto in the ALCS despite hitting just .168. Zobrist had three hit for the Cubs.
Lester gave up three runs, six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings, and was rattled by Vanover's calls, barking at the umpire in the third, then stopping for a discussion at the inning's end.
While Arrieta went 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA during the regular season, he struggled to a 5.01 ERA in his final four starts. He allowed four runs over five innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.
Bauer lasted only two outs in his ALCS when his pinkie, cut in a drone accident, began bleeding.
Dexter Fowler took a called third strike from Kluber leading off the game, becoming the first Cubs player to bat in the Series since Don Johnson hit into a game-ending forceout against Detroit's Hal Newhouser in Game 7 in 1945.
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