Tigers force ALDS Game 5 with 8-6 victory over A’s

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There will be a Game 5 in Oakland on Thursday.

Tigers starter Doug Fister yielded seven hits, a walk and three earned runs over a shaky six-inning outing and the Detroit offense appeared lifeless in the early frames, but a three-run fifth, a two-run seventh and a three-run eighth gave the American League Central champions an 8-6 comeback victory in Game 4 of the ALDS on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

A’s starter Dan Straily sprinted out of the gate, throwing four no-hit frames to open the game. But the Tigers got back-to-back singles from Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning and then Jhonny Peralta launched a three-run shot to left that tied the score at 3-3. Oakland fought back to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning and staged a late rally on Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit in the top of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough against the suddenly-awoken Detroit bats.

V-Mart slugged a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the seventh that may or may not have been interfered with by a Tigers fan. Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick had a good beat on it and seemed to jump at the right time, but the baseball was snatched away a few feet above his outstretched glove. It was reviewed by the umpiring crew and the home run was upheld, presumably due to the inconclusive replay angles.

The Tigers added another run in the bottom of the seventh inning on an Austin Jackson RBI single and three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put that controversial big fly on the backburner.

Detroit will roll with Justin Verlander in Game 5 at O.Co Coliseum because Max Scherzer was needed in relief in this wacky Game 4. Oakland can either go with Bartolo Colon or youngster Sonny Gray.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.