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Josh Donaldson's defensive miscue key to A's' downfall

OAKLAND — As dominant as Justin Verlander was against the A's on Thursday, nothing after Miguel Cabrera's fourth-inning homer seemed to matter much. In a closer game, analysts might have been picking over a play that went awry in the sixth.

Leading 2-0, the Tigers had runners at the corners with one out when Detroit's Omar Infante hit a sharp hopper to third base. Josh Donaldson went to his knees to get the ball, and it looked like he had time to get runner Victor Martinez at home plate. But Donaldson took a calculated risk and threw to second base, hoping to initiate a double play. His throw was a bit low, and second baseman Alberto Callaspo bobbled it; he got the out there, but was unable to relay the ball to first, and Martinez scored.

Afterward, A's manager Bob Melvin did his best to absolve Donaldson.

Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers ALDS Game 5

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“When you hit the ball that hard, you have a chance for a double play,” Melvin said. “The throw was a little low in the dirt, Callaspo had to pick it. But no, I don't fault him for that. I think when the ball was hit as hard as it was and where he was positioned, you expect him to turn a double play.”

MELVIN, LEYLAND PLAY CHESS

Both managers shook up the lineups a bit for crucial Game 5. To no one's surprise, they favored the hot hands.

Melvin moved Yoenis Cespedes, one of the few Oakland batters who has been putting the bat on the ball in this American League Division Series, to the cleanup spot, and moved struggling Josh Reddick down to the No. 8 position.

“There are times with Brandon Moss being a 30-homer guy, I try to insulate him in between a couple of righties. But Cespedes swinging as well as he is right now, I just wanted to move him up a spot,” Melvin explained.

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