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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.

Moss, who batted fourth in the first two games, is 1 for 7 with four strikeouts.

"It's two games," A's manager Bob Melvin cautioned. "Things can change very quickly in one game."

Melvin said he doesn't plan any major shake-up with his lineup despite his team scoring just five runs over the first two games. A lefty-dominated batting order is likely to remain in place with the Tigers starting right-hander Anibal Sanchez on Tuesday.

Interestingly, Sanchez is holding left-handed batters to a .243 average while right-handers are hitting .291, leaving the opportunity for Melvin to perhaps insert Jonny Gomes at D.H. over Seth Smith or give Chris Carter a look at first over Moss.

But Melvin pointed out that Smith is 6 for 13 (with two homers) off Sanchez.

"It's a tough one," Melvin said. "It's always difficult not to get Jonny in. It's difficult not to get Chris Carter in. But, you know, we're planning it a certain way, and there's a good chance that we're going to continue to do that."

Despite the odds stacked against them, the A's draw confidence from all they've overcome to this point. Few predicted they would post a winning record, much less win the A.L. West. They've overcome injuries to their pitching staff, plus a 50-game suspension for starter Bartolo Colon.

Now they hope Anderson's return to the mound provides a spark.

"You just wonder, was it meant to be this way?" A's closer Grant Balfour said. "Were we meant to lose two (and) was Brett supposed to be the guy on the mound when we come back?

"I've had crazy thoughts about this year, and it makes me wonder. It wouldn't surprise me in any way if we do come back from this."

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