On a night of desperation, dispute and finally, delirium, Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers kept their season alive by the slimmest of margins.
During a relief outing to remember, Scherzer escaped a major jam one inning after two fans reached out to try to reel in Victor Martinez’s disputed home run, and the Tigers rallied past the Oakland Athletics 8-6 on Tuesday to force a decisive fifth game in their AL division series.
The winner of Game 5 will draw the Red Sox, who eliminated the Rays in four games.
Scherzer was in line to start Game 5, but the 21-game winner came on Tuesday instead for his first relief appearance since the 2011 postseason. He wriggled out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth inning and got the win.
Playing catch-up most of the way in Game 4, the Tigers tied it first with Jhonny Peralta’s three-run homer in the fifth and then on Martinez’s solo shot in the seventh. A couple of fans attempted to catch Martinez’s drive, and at least one of them bobbled the ball as he reached over the railing above the wall.
Red Sox 3, Rays 1: Jake Peavy helped a great deal in sending the Rays packing.
The former White Sox worked 5 2/3 innings, allowed an unearned run on five hits and striking out three. However, Craig Breslow picked up the win in relief after working 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Sox scored the game-tying and winning runs in the seventh without the ball leaving the infield on the scoring plays. Xander Bogaerts scored on a wild pitch. Shane Victorino then drove in Jacoby Ellsbury, who moved to third on the wild pitch.