Tigers Strike First – Inge Drives Detroit to 1-0 ALCS Lead

Someone pass the butter, baby, ’cause Tigertown is on a roll…

(story below the fold)

The Detroit Tigers won their third consecutive game in this postseason, and their first ALCS win in 19 years, as they dispatched the A’s tonight with a 5-1 victory at Oakland. Brandon Inge went 3-3 with a home run, a double and a single, driving in 2 and scoring 2 runs. Inge, batting 9th in Detroit’s lineup, became only the sixth #9 hitter to have a perfect game at bat in playoff history.

Nate Robertson, coming off a poor performance in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees last week, was efficient enough to hold the A’s to 6 hits over 6 innings, although he was forced to pitch his way out of major trouble in several innings. Robertson was bailed out by his defense, turning 4 double plays (tying an single-game American League record for the postseason).

Robertson was relieved successfully (surprisingly, in my opinion) by Fernando Rodney in the 6th and 7th. The A’s scored one run off flame-throwing Joel Zumaya in the 8th, but was shut down by Tigers’ closer Todd Jones in the 9th to preserve the vistory.

The A’s starting pitcher, ace Barry Zito, was rather ineffective against Detroit’s patient approach at the plate. The Tigers hitters worked Zito deep in the count in several at-bats, and took advantage of Zito’s control issues, eventually knocking him out of the game in the 4th inning, after scoring all 5 runs against him.

The Tigers go for a commanding 2-0 lead in the series tomorrow night at Oakland, with super-rookie Justin Verlander starting on the mound. As it is, the Tigers can potentially take the pennant by winning all 3 games at home this weekend, but winning tomorrow night will put the World Series very much within reach with a strong homestand.

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