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Middle of A's order has to produce or ALDS will end quickly
Oakland needs more of the magic that got it to postseason

  • When Coco Crisp gets on base, the A's run producers need to drive him home. Crisp is shown at Monday's ALDS workout in Oakland. (BEN MARGOT / Associated Press)

OAKLAND -- The A's acknowledge the daunting task facing them in their American League Division Series.

They also point to some recent history that suggests it isn't mission impossible.

"We know we have to come here and win three in a row, and we know that's going to be a big challenge," first baseman Brandon Moss said. "We won six in a row to win our division, so we know it's not outside of our grasp to do it."

Before the A's can win three, they have to win one.

Down 2-0 in their best-of-five series with the Detroit Tigers, they'll take the field before a sold-out Oakland Coliseum crowd in Game 3 on Tuesday night looking to extend the series and swing momentum in their favor.

Only four teams have overcome a 2-0 deficit to win a Division Series since the format began in 1995. Of those four, only the '95 Seattle Mariners had the advantage of playing the final three games at home as the A's do.

The A's expect a lift from the return of starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who will take the ball in his first start since straining his right oblique Sept. 19.

Oakland also could use a lift from its heart-of-the-order hitters. Quality starting pitching only matters if the A's can score enough runs to take advantage of it.

The A's 3-4-5 combo of Yoenis Cespedes, Moss and Josh Reddick is a combined 5 for 22 with two RBIs and 11 strikeouts in two games.

"Obviously that's been our power threat all year," Reddick said.

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"Cespedes has been swinging the bat well. He's gotten a few knocks, he just hasn't had the benefit of having people on base. I've got to bear down and start putting some more balls in play. The strikeouts have got to be cut down."

Cespedes delivered an RBI single to drive in Oakland's first run in Game 2, then he stole two bases and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game in the eighth inning.

Reddick homered right after that to give the A's a short-lived lead, but that marked the first time he put the ball in play in the series. He has six strikeouts and a walk in eight plate appearances.

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