Capitals

Tigers lead A's 2-0 through 3 innings in Game 5

201210112053752100480-p2.jpeg

Tigers lead A's 2-0 through 3 innings in Game 5

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Justin Verlander pitched scoreless ball and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of a pair of wild pitches by Jarrod Parker, taking a 2-0 lead over the Oakland Athletics through three innings in the decisive Game 5 of their AL division series Thursday night.

With the season at stake for both sides, Austin Jackson lined a double off the wall in left-center to score Omar Infante in the second. Jackson then stole second, advanced to third on Quintin Berry's bunt and scored on Parker's second wild pitch to quiet a yellow-towel twirling crowd that sold out the Oakland Coliseum.

Verlander allowed baserunners in each of the first two innings but never lost his grip. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner struck out four.

Oakland had struck out 43 times in the series, the most of any postseason matchup in franchise history that lasted five games. The previous most was 42 in the 1974 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The A's were looking to become the ninth team to win a best-of-five series after dropping the first two games.

They don't have to look far - or far back - for the last time, either. After dropping the first two at home, the Bay Area rival San Francisco Giants beat the Reds for the third straight game in Cincinnati earlier Thursday to advance to the NL championship series.

Even though they were at home, Oakland faced perhaps an ever bigger challenge in the winner-take-all finale against Verlander.

The hard-throwing right-hander struck out Coco Crisp and Stephen Drew before Yoenis Cespedes doubled to the left-center gap in the first. Then Seth Smith, who hit a game-tying two-run double in the ninth to lead the A's back in Game 4, hit a weak grounder back to Verlander on the first pitch.

In the second, Brandon Moss drew a two-out walk. After catcher Alex Avila briefly lost a pitch that Verlander bounced in the dirt, he threw out Moss trying to take second.

Wild pitches proved to be Parker's downfall.

Infante singled leading off the first, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Jackson's double. After Jackson moved over on Berry's bunt, Parker threw a wild pitch that got by catcher Derek Norris to hand Detroit a 2-0 lead.

The last A's pitcher to throw two wild pitches in a postseason game was Dan Haren in a Game 4 loss against Detroit on Oct. 14, 2006,

The Tigers were looking to advance to the AL championship series for the second straight season. They lost to the Texas Rangers in six games last year. Oakland was swept by the Tigers in four games in its last trip to the championship series in 2006.

The rematch of Game 1 starters featured contrasting credentials.

Parker, another Oakland rookie, allowed all three runs in 6 1-3 innings in a 3-1 loss. The right-hander faced a daunting challenge to keep pace with Verlander, who allowed a leadoff home run by Coco Crisp in seven innings in Game 1, a usual dominance led Detroit manager Jim Leyland to predict ``this game will probably be decided with Verlander in the game.''

``I don't have anybody better than him,'' Leyland said before the game. ``And if they get to him that much, we'll probably be in trouble.''

Verlander is the fifth pitcher to start a winner-take-all playoff game the year after winning a Cy Young. In all four previous instances, that pitcher's team lost the game.

The four pitchers were Steve Carlton (1981 Phillies), David Cone (1995 Yankees), Barry Zito (2003 Athletics) and Roy Halladay (2011 Phillies).

When Detroit arrived in the Bay Area this week, a Coliseum celebration seemed to be only a matter of time after taking the first two games at home.

Then again, this A's team has accomplished some impressive feats all season, including a major league-best 14 walk-off wins in the regular season - plus No. 15 on Wednesday night, when they rallied rallying from two runs down in the ninth off closer Jose Valverde for a stunning 4-3 victory - and taking three in a row from the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers to win the AL West crown on the final day of the season.

Thursday night was the sixth straight game that Oakland's visiting clubhouse was prepped for a clinching celebration, with plastic sheets that cover the lockers and floors repacked each time, along with bottles of bubbly waiting to be popped.

---

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Quick Links

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING PLAYOFF SERIES?

Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.

WHAT CHANNEL IS GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM GAME 6 OF THE CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR GAME 6 OF CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING?

Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 6 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

sotogood.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.