Just when we thought the Oakland Athletics were all out of luck and struck with a devastating case of bad defense, they pull us back in. A pair of highlight catches via Coco Crisp and Yoeni$ Ce$pede$, plus a zillion ground balls to Stephen Drew, backed an outstanding effort from Brett Anderson and the Oakland bullpen in Game Three to force a second date with looming elimination for the A’s.

Oakland should have their work cut out tonight if Max Scherzer shows no ill effects of a fatigued shoulder or a celebration induced ankle injury. The A’s counter with rookie A.J. Griffin on the mound.

Check back with us later tonight for a full recap complete with all the appropriate media, analysis and GIFfy goodness.

Game Four lineups:

Ultra fancy 2012 usage charts, via the indispensable Brooks Baseball

Max Scherzer

A.J. Griffin

Way cool Win Probability graph via FanGraphs:

Source: FanGraphs

Third Inning

The story so far: little action thus far as the Tigers have picked up where they left off flying balls to the outfield and hitting grounders to Stephen Drew.

Scherzer has looked sharp early on, hitting 96 mph in the second inning. Forget about the heat, though, take a look at this 85 mph change he used to sit down Derek Norris:

Alex Avila represents the first run from either side, crossing the plate on an Austin Jackson single. Tigers lead 1-0.

Fourth and Fifth Innings – Tigers 2 – Athletics 1

Prince Fielder leads off the inning with a shot to right field that Josh Reddick may have turned to watch leave the yard, but he didn’t have to. Check that bat flip!

They did what?

Scherzer gets Reddick swinging and Josh Donaldson looking for his sixth and seventh strikeouts of the game. Seth Smith draws a walk and Norris moves him to third with a two-out single and just like that the go ahead run comes up in the form of Cliff Pennington. Scherzer Ks Pennington to escape the inning. Should of chose Danger Zone. #ShouldOf

Sixth Inning – Tigers 2 – Athletics 1

Bob Melvin sends Griffin out to start the inning, presumably with a plan to retire Miguel Cabrera before going to the pen for some left handedness. Coco Crisp exercises poor judgement on a shallow fly ball and that plan has gone to shit. Jerry Blevins is in to face Fielder with a runner on first and nobody out. Rain begins to fall as Fielder sends a ground ball to, you guessed it, Stephen Drew who steps on second and fires to first for a double play. Delmon Young kills the inning with yet another ground ball to Drew.

Leadership right here:

Prince Fielder cocks up an easy play behind first base when he can’t pick up a ground ball off the bat of Crisp. Crisp ends up on second, but not for long as he advances to third on wild pitch. Stephen Drew drives in Crisp with a double to the wall for the first Athletics run of the game. An greedy Drew tries to leg it into a triple and is “very out”, in the words of Don Orsillo.

Dotel is in for Scherzer. The line: 5.1 IP; 3 H; 1 R; 0 ER; 1 BB; 8 K; 91 pitches. Dotel Ks Cespedes, walks Moss and he’s done. Phil Coke gets a deep fly ball out of Josh Reddick to end the sixth.

Seventh and Eighth Innings- Tigers 3 – Athletics 1

Nothing much to report from the seventh, but Josh Donaldson did THIS:

Al Alburquerque pitches a kiss free seventh in relief for the Tigers.

Sean Doolittle enters the game for the Athletics in the eighth. Omar Infante reaches on a ground ball that gets by Drew at short, he is promptly sacrificed over by Austin Jackson. Infante scores the Tigers third run as Avisail Garcia, pinch hitting for Quintin Berry, singles to right. Garcia goes to third on Fielder’s second hit of the night, a single past Moss and Pennington on the right side. Doolittle gets the hook in favour of Ryan Cook. Delmon Young dribbles a ground ball to Pennington just like we all expected him to.

Stephen Drew hits a two-out single off of Joaquin Benoit, makes no effort to run to third. Brandon Moss Ks with two runners on base to end the inning. We’re off to the ninth.

Ninth Inning – Tigers 3 – Athletics 4

Cook gets the Tigers 1-2-3 in the top half of the inning. Papa Gross Grande, Jose Valverde, is on to close it out for the Tigers. How this guy hasn’t tested positive for elevated levels of narcissism at this point is beyond me.

Reddick singles and Donaldson doubles and there will be no save tonight as both score on a double by Seth Smith. The winning run is on second base. It’s over, the comeback is complete as Coco Crisp singles with two out! Narrative wins, now get on Twitter and allow bad Moneyball 2 jokes to take you to bed.

The A’s force a fifth and deciding game, which will be played Thursday night in Oakland.