OAKLAND -- In the joy of the A's clubhouse, nobody was more relieved than third-base coach Mike Gallego.

Gallego took the blame for a baserunning blunder by Stephen Drew that thwarted an Oakland rally and, for a while, looked as if it potentially could cost the game.

After Coco Crisp opened the sixth by hustling to second on a ball Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder was unable to handle -- he was charged with an error -- Drew hammered a ball into the gap in right center.

Crisp raced around third to score the first A's run and Drew approached second base in full sprint, hitting the bag and picking up Gallego, who was waving him toward third.

"I was bringing him (around)," Gallego said. "After I saw the ball scoot past Jackson and against the wall -- obviously the cardinal sin is to not make the first or last out at third base -- but at that time, I felt that I couldn't stop him either.

"If I would have stopped him, I would have gotten him hung out to dry in the middle of the basepath."

It was a bad move.

Second baseman Omar Infante took the relay from center fielder Austin Jackson and easily nailed Drew at third.

"Obviously now that you look at it, it's not the right call for either of us. But that's the type of baseball we play here. We're going to try to be aggressive all the time.

"And sometimes, we're going to err on the aggressive side."


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But in the end, thanks to a game-winning single by Crisp in the bottom of the ninth, the mistake was not fatal. Gallego would sleep better. So, too, would Drew.

  • A's rookie Jarrod Parker (13-8) not only will pitch in a game to decide a playoff series, he'll do it against Detroit Tigers Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander.

    Parker handled himself well in Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series, going 61/3 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) at Comerica Park. It didn't matter as Verlander racked up 12 strikeouts over seven innings of a 3-1 Tigers win.

    The stakes will be higher and the spotlight brighter Thursday with a berth in the A.L. Championship Series on the line.

    A's manager Bob Melvin said the poise that Parker showed in Game 1 simply reflected the demeanor he showed during the regular season, when he went 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA.

    "He's just gotten better and better," Melvin said. "Now that he has a postseason start under his belt, I'm sure he'll take all the confidence that he got out of that one to the next one."

  • Just when it appeared Verlander might be set up to start Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, now he must carry Detroit's hopes in a decisive Game 5 against the A's.

    "I feel like it's about the same as the responsibility in Game 1," he said after the game. "Obviously, it's win or go home. I'm not going to change my mentality. I'm not going to try to do anything more than I've done after the game."

  • Josh Reddick's fifth-inning strikeout was his eighth of the series, breaking the Oakland record for most strikeouts by a player in a postseason series.

  • WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward, an Oakland native, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

    Staff writers Joe Stiglich and Carl Steward contributed to this report.