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Another walk-off for A's forces decisive Game 5

  • Oakland Athletics left fielder Coco Crisp (4) celebrates after he hit single to score Seth Smith and win the game 4-3 in the ninth inning of Game 4 of an American League division baseball series against the Detroit Tigers in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND — The A's have won with such flair and drama this season that they are making their observers into suckers. By now we'll believe practically anything.

We will believe, for example, that this team won yet another walk-off in Game 4 of its American League division series — and did it against Jose Valverde, the Detroit Tigers' nearly impenetrable closer. We are willing to accept that the A's got half their hits in the ninth inning, turning a sometimes-ugly 12-strikeout performance into a victory.

And with Wednesday's 4-3 win setting up a do-or-die Game 5 here at O.co Coliseum, some of you might even be willing to bet the A's can beat Tigers ace Justin Verlander to advance to the AL championship series.

AL Division Series Game 4

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"We've heard a lot of people say we're not smart enough to know when to lose a game like most people do," right fielder Josh Reddick said. "But we've been battling till the 27th out all year, and we're not gonna stop now."

With two outs in the ninth inning and the score tied 3-3, Coco Crisp rapped a single to right field to score Seth Smith from second base, sending the Oakland fans into well-rehearsed delirium. Smith had tied the game with a two-run double a few batters earlier, after Reddick singled and Josh Donaldson doubled to start the inning.

None of it seemed likely after five Detroit Tigers pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts in the first eight innings.

"Their pitching staff is good, and our offense is hit or miss for a lot of the games, and you don't know when the big hit is going to come," Smith said. "But it seems like more often than not that they come."

Before the dramatic rally in the ninth, most people who watched this game were ready to hash out the misses — missed pitches, and one big missed opportunity.

The bottom of the sixth inning started with with Detroit's Prince Fielder flubbing Crisp's hard grounder to first base, and with Crisp hustling to second on the play. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored easily on Stephen Drew's drive into the left-center gap.

The crowd erupted, but Drew rounded second and headed for third, and second baseman Omar Infante's perfect relay throw from center fielder Austin Jackson gunned him down at the bag.


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