Scherzer Keeps Tigers Alive

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images(DETROIT) — With the Tigers up 5-4 in the eighth, Max Scherzer pitched out of a no out bases loaded jam helping Detroit force a decisive Game 5 in their AL division series by beating the Oakland Athletics 8-6 Tuesday.

The Tigers were down 4-3 in the top half of the eighth when Victor Martinez hit an opposite-field home run just out of the reach of Josh Reddick to tie the game. Austin Jackson later singled in Andy Dirks to give Detroit its first lead of the game.

The bottom of the eighth is where it got interesting. Scherzer, who entered the game in relief of Doug Fister in the seventh, walked Brandon Moss, then allowed a double to Yoenis Cespedes and then intentionally walked Seth Smith to load the bases with no outs. Josh Reddick was up next and worked the count to 3-1 before Sherzer battled back and struck him out with a nasty inside changeup. Scherzer followed that up by striking out Stephen Vogt and getting Alberto Callaspo to line out to center field to end the inning.

“Max is a strikeout guy, and that’s what you’re look for, obviously, early in the situation,” Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said. “If you can get the first two guys on strikes, that’s huge, which is what he did. That’s what you’re looking for.

“I hated to load him up, but Smith has been so hot and Max is a strikeout guy, so you take your shot.”

The Tigers scored three more runs in the ninth to seal the victory.

Game 5 is set for Thursday in Oakland. Justin Verlander takes the mound for Detroit and will square off against Sonny Gray.

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