DETROIT — Justin Verlander
shut down Oakland after a leadoff homer, and Alex Avila went deep in the
fifth inning to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Athletics 3-1 in the
opener of their AL playoff Saturday night.
Verlander allowed three hits in
seven innings and matched his career postseason high with 11 strikeouts.
As usual, he seemed stronger in the later innings, striking out the
side in the sixth and the first two hitters of the seventh. That made up
for Coco Crisp's leadoff home run that quieted the Comerica Park crowd in the first inning.
Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth and Jose Valverde finished for the save.
Oakland's Jarrod Parker allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera went hitless.