Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit, left, greets teammates Omar Infante and Prince Fielder, right, after the Tigers' 8-6 win over the against the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of baseball's American League division series in Detroit.
DETROIT — Winter in Motown remains on hold.
The Tigers held off postseason elimination with a pair of rallies and ace-turned-reliever Max Scherzer’s improbable forestalling of another in an 8-6 victory over the Athletics in Game 4 of the division series today at Comerica Park.
In classic goat-to-hero fashion, the recently outcast Jhonny Peralta hit a game-tying three-run homer in the fifth inning while the staggering Austin Jackson hit a broken-bat game-winning single in the seventh.
Scherzer, too, then earned redemption in the biggest way. After allowing the go-ahead run in his first inning of relief in the seventh, he escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam with the Tigers ahead 5-4 an inning later. Scherzer struck out Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt swinging and got pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo to line out to center field.
The Tigers added three runs in the bottom of the eighth before turning it over to Joaquin Benoit for an eventful, two-run ninth.
Detroit will play a winner-take-all Game 5 on the road for the third straight year, with Justin Verlander getting the ball on Thursday in Oakland. The Tigers beat the Yankees in 2011 and the A's in 2012.
The Tigers' biggest hits came from a pair of unlikely sources. Peralta, the converted left fielder less than two weeks removed from a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis doping scandal, slugged a three-run homer just over the left field wall off rookie starter Dan Straily to tie the game at three in the fifth. Jackson, who was previously 1 for 14 with 10 strikeouts in the series and the target of fan frustration, then hit a broken-bat bloop single off A’s reliever Sean Doolittle in the seventh.
Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings.