OAKLAND -- The A's made a major restructuring of their lineup for Game 2 of the American League Division Series Saturday, moving Seth Smith in as the designated hitter, shifting Brandon Moss from DH to first base and putting Daric Barton on the bench.
Barton had a tough Game one, striking out in all three of his at-bats and having two ground balls get by him at first base. The first of those led to Detroit's third run, which turned out to be the decider in a 3-2 Oakland loss.
Manager Bob Melvin said, however that the move was more about getting Smith in the lineup than it was about Barton's play.
"I'd been thinking about it before the series started,'' Melvin said. "If Barton had gone 4-for-4 that might have changed things, but coming in I wanted to get Smitty into the lineup.''
Barton is 2-for-14 career with four walks in his career against Tigers' Game 2 starter Justin Verlander. Smith is 2-for-15 with six walks and a homer against the A.L.'s 2011 Cy Young Award winner.
Asked about Smith's ability to move into the lineup after having time off, Melvin credited the outfielder's time with the Colorado Rockies where he was in and out of the lineup and also served as the club's top pinch-hitter.
Barton, who has played great defense and hit well for the last six weeks, had trouble with both facets of the game Friday. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts at the plate and two balls got by him that generally he would get to.
The first of the two was the most costly. A first-inning single by Alex Avila with Martinez at second base brought the third run of the first inning home. The A's were able to score twice, but that third run was the backbreaker.
In the sixth, Infante snuck a single past him, although Reddick would rise up and throw Martinez out at the plate.
"Those are plays Daric makes 99 percent of the time,'' Reddick said.
More than that, Melvin said that Barton's reputation as a superior defensive player works against him in the times when he doesn't make the play.
Barton said on the first play, he had to make the choice between diving for the ball and trying to stay on his feet to get the ball.
He remained on his feet and "the ball stayed down.''
On the Infante ball, Barton said it was just one of those things. The runner at first base, Alex Avila, screened him off the ball and "I never saw it until it was past me,'' he said.