Workers unloaded champagne and plastic wrap from a white delivery truck inside Comerica Park as the A’s dressing room was transformed into a party room.
And for a while, it looked like Oakland would be celebrating a trip to the American League Championship Series, courtesy of leadoff man Coco Crisp.
Crisp helped the A’s jump out to a 3-0 lead over the Tigers on Tuesday, driving starter Doug Fister batty.
The bubbly in the locker room was taken off ice for one simple reason: Crisp cannot lead off every inning. Thus, he cannot keep the team from crumbling, as it did in an 8-6 loss that sent the series back to Oakland for a deciding Game 5 on Thursday.
“He is our igniter, no doubt about it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He can hit, he steals bases, he gets on base. He takes the pitcher’s attention off the hitter. He is our engine.”
The only reason the Tigers are still alive is because Crisp didn’t come up to bat when the A’s loaded up the bases in the eighth inning with no outs. He was on deck when pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo lined out to center fielder Austin Jackson to end the threat.
A pain to Tigers
The bad news for the Tigers is that Crisp will stand in his customary leadoff spot Thursday, with no signs of slowing down. He’s hitting .500 in the series after going 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI on Tuesday.
Crisp is simply a pain.
The Tigers couldn’t keep him off the bases and couldn’t stop him from driving in a go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
While he seemed to make Prince Fielder laugh every time he got on base, Crisp is causing everyone else to cringe
He led off the game with a triple and scored.
He singled in the fifth and scored.
He drove in Stephen Vogt in the seventh for a 4-3 A’s lead after the Tigers had clawed back to make it 3-3 after five.
And, he sparked a two-run ninth with a single.
“He is in a good grove right now,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “When he gets a pitch, he doesn’t miss a chance. He’s a terrific player and he’s a catalyst.
“We’re fortunate we’re 2-2 because we haven’t shut him down. I said in this series that was one of our missions, to try to slow him.”
Just what's needed
Crisp has been on base 10 times during the series. Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson? He’s struck out 10 times.
Crisp scored three times Tuesday. Jackson? He has scored once the entire series.
There are simply no flaws in Crisp’s game. He gets on base and keeps the Tigers pitchers guessing.
Crisp is exactly what the Tigers need.
He gets on base. He takes pitches and drives up pitch counts.
He does the big things and the little things for the A’s.
And if the Tigers have any hope of winning Game 5 and heading to the ALCS, they need to find a way to knock Coco cuckoo.