Don Kelly's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Oakland Athletics, 5-4, in Game 2 of their American League Division Series.
The A's sent Grant Balfour (0-1) to the mound in the ninth. Omar Infante singled to right, Miguel Cabrera singled to center and Prince Fielder was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Kelly followed with a fly ball to right and Infante tagged up to score the winning run.
Delmon Young also had an RBI for the Tigers, who won 3-1 in Game 1 on Saturday.
Detroit starter Doug Fister allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings. Al Alburquerque (1-0) recorded the final out in the ninth to pick up the win.
"I think the most important thing is the fact we battled the whole game," Fister said. "Guys came off the bench. From the starters to the relievers to the guys that came off the bench, everybody played together. And I think that's the biggest momentum booster for us."
Josh Reddick hit a solo homer for the Athletics, who are making their first postseason appearance since 2006. Cliff Pennington and Yoenis Cespedes added an RBI apiece.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone gave up one run on five hits over six innings.
Game 3 of this best-of-five series will take place on Tuesday at Oakland.
The A's broke a scoreless tie in the third inning. Pennington and Coco Crisp hit back-to-back singles to get things going. Cespedes hit an RBI single to left with one out. Crisp was thrown out at the plate while trying to score on Brandon Moss' single to right.
The Tigers, who stranded the bases loaded in the second, got the run back in the bottom half. With one out, Cabrera doubled and Fielder singled. Young plated a run when he grounded out to first.
Oakland took the lead back in the seventh after Seth Smith walked, moved to second a sacrifice bunt and raced home on Pennington's single to center.
However, an error by Crisp in the bottom half of the frame allowed Detroit to go in front. Sean Doolittle gave up two-out singles to Austin Jackson and Infante. Cabrera followed with a fly ball to shallow center field. Crisp came running in and dropped the ball after bobbling it. A pair of runs scored on the play to make it 3-2 Tigers.
"Well, he breaks back and then has to recover and covered a lot of ground to get back there," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And obviously until you've tried to make that play and the ball's bouncing a little bit as far as your eyes go, he ended up making a basket catch that just popped out of his glove."
The A's responded with two runs in the eighth to keep the back-and-forth battle going. Joaquin Benoit gave up a leadoff single to Cespedes, who stole second and third. With Reddick at the plate, Cespedes scored on a wild pitch. Reddick followed with a homer to right to give Oakland a 4-3 edge.
But the Tigers scored a run in the bottom half to tie the game. Young and Jhonny Peralta singled off Ryan Cook. The runners moved up to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Kelly scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-4.
The Athletics' last postseason appearance came against Detroit in the 2006 ALCS, in which the Tigers registered a four-game sweep ... Milone went 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA during the regular season ... Fister went 10-10 with a 3.45 ERA during the regular season.