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OAK@DET Gm4: Straily, Fister set for Game 4 showdown

DETROIT -- The A's, leading this American League Division Series 2-1 and going for the knockout, and the Tigers, fighting for their postseason lives, have entirely different agendas for Tuesday's Game 4 at 5 p.m. ET on TBS.

For Detroit, the mantra is, "Remember 2012." For the A's, it's, "Write a new script."

With Doug Fister taking his sinker on the mound, the Tigers will try to relocate the full force of their mostly absent offense against A's right-hander Dan Straily. The mission is to get the series back to Oakland, where the Tigers took Game 5 of a rousing series last year behind Justin Verlander's brilliant shutout.

If it goes to a Game 5 this time, Verlander will be in the bullpen in support of Max Scherzer, assuming the Game 1 starter gets the call. Tigers fans would love to see that duo dealing in the same game with the season on the line. The A's would have their veteran ace, Bartolo Colon, ready to go, with rookie sensation Sonny Gray behind him.

Detroit ended a 20-inning scoreless drought in the fourth inning of Game 3 on Monday, but it was overpowered by the A's. Home runs by Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Seth Smith were the difference.

"We're on the verge of putting them out of the postseason," Reddick said, "but we're not going to change our one-day-at-a-time procedure."

The Tigers, during their three-run fourth, got an encouraging swing from Miguel Cabrera on one of the outs. The 2012 AL Triple Crown winner and Most Valuable Player unloaded his deepest drive of the series, but A's center fielder Coco Crisp ran it down at the warning track in right-center.

Jhonny Peralta, getting back in the swing of things as the Tigers' left fielder after his 50-game ban for violating the MLB drug program, contributed a two-run single in four at-bats. That was another positive sign, along with two hits by Prince Fielder.

"He swung the bat good [Monday]," Leyland said of Fielder, "and he hit another line drive at the shortstop real hard. He swung the bat exceptionally well."

Peralta made a relatively smooth transition from shortstop to left field, but a throw home on Crisp's sacrifice fly didn't pick up enough steam to nail Stephen Vogt.

"He knocked in two runs," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's why we put him out there, hoping we would get a little punch and he did that to tie the game up.

"He did fine in the outfield. When you put a guy out there that hasn't been out there, you're saying you're willing to accept what you get defensively for what you might get offensively -- and Jhonny got us a hit that gave us two runs. That's as simple as it is."

The Tigers are still searching for their first home run in the series, having produced a total of six runs. This was the second most productive offense in the Majors during the season, trailing only Boston in runs scored.

"We're going to have some mojo [Tuesday], be ready to go," Torii Hunter said, feeling the effects of a jammed left shoulder after it cushioned a fall in right field.

Hunter, whose single ignited the three-run rally, vowed to be in the lineup in his customary No. 2 spot in front of Cabrera.

"It's the playoffs, man," he said. "You played banged up if you have to, whatever it takes. I got X-rays; nothing's torn. Adrenaline takes over.

"We want to keep playing. It's 2-1, they're up. They have the advantage, but I don't think the pressure's on us. We just have to go out and play."

Hunter is more familiar than his teammates with the A's, having spent 2008-12 with the Angels, Oakland's AL West rivals.

"They're a good team," he said. "Good pitching, good defense, power, and they run the bases. Three home runs in the playoffs is a lot. Six runs is a lot in the playoffs."

Coco Crisp, the A's catalyst, warmed up in Game 3 with two doubles, a single, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI. The A's are hoping Josh Donaldson (.167) and hitless Jed Lowrie heat up behind the leadoff man.

The A's scored as many times in Game 3 as the Tigers have in the series. Oakland's pitching staff has held the upper hand, keeping Detroit off the scoreboard in 25 of 27 innings.

"Obviously, we're happy to be at 2-1," said Moss, the A's home run leader with 30 during the season. "But with that team over there, there is no comfortable lead."

Last year, it was the A's who were down 2-1 at home, rallying for a dramatic 4-3 win in Game 4 with three ninth-inning runs. Crisp delivered the walk-off RBI single after Smith's two-run double.

The Tigers, a team with high expectations after reaching the World Series last year and adding Hunter and Victor Martinez to the lineup, are looking to create a happy ending to Game 4 for their hometown fans.

"We know what we have to do," Hunter said. "It's just a matter of going out and doing it." Comments