Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics' remarkable 2012 season has been highlighted by impressive comebacks. They'll have to make another one to extend it.
Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters over seven splendid innings and Alex Avila went 2-for-3 with a solo home run to power the Detroit Tigers to a 3-1 victory over Oakland in Game 1 of the American League Division Series from Comerica Park.
Verlander (1-0) gave up a home run to Coco Crisp to begin the contest, but yielded just two hits afterward while working around four walks for the AL Central champion Tigers. The 2011 AL Cy Young Award recipient's strikeout total matched a career-high for a postseason appearance.
Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde finished off the win with a scoreless inning each as Detroit shut down the red-hot A's, who completed an improbable rally from a 13-game deficit in the AL West to overtake Texas for the division title. The A's won their final six outings of the regular season and swept a three-game set from the Rangers to close out the schedule.
Jarrod Parker (0-1), one of 12 rookies on Oakland's 25-man roster for this series, allowed three runs -- two earned -- and fanned five over 6 1/3 innings. The young right-hander also committed a costly fielding error in the bottom of the third that allowed the Tigers to score the eventual deciding run.