Vaunted bullpen trio lets A’s down in loss to Tigers

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Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined to pitch nine scoreless innings, allowing just three hits in the process, in the series sweep of the Rangers last week. In today’s Game 2 loss to the Tigers, the trio gave up four runs — two earned — and six hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

What was a 2-1 Oakland lead when Doolittle entered to start the bottom of the seventh turned into a 5-4 loss after Don Kelly’s sac fly in the ninth.

All three relievers allowed two hits. Doolittle still would have escaped his inning clean if not for Coco Crisp’s drop of Miguel Cabrera’s fly to shallow center. It was ruled an error, so both runs Doolittle allowed were unearned. Still, he took a blown save, as did Cook after his wild pitch allowed the tying run in the eighth. Balfour suffered the loss in the ninth after entering a 4-4 game.

To see all three get negative results in the same game is simply incredible. Doolittle took a loss or a blown save just twice in 44 regular-season appearances this year. Balfour was even better, with three such appearances in 75 trips to the mound. Cook took a loss and/or a blown save seven times in 71 appearances.

Now, sure, many of those appearances came in situations in which a loss or a blown save was never in play. And most of them didn’t come against offenses as good as Detroit’s. Still, for all three to fail back-to-back-to-back, well, perhaps there is a little something different to this thing they call postseason baseball.

Video: Tony Kemp makes a sensational catch to halt two-out rally by Red Sox

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After scoring two quick runs against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel in Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening, the Red Sox offense threatened again in the third. J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts drew back-to-back two-out walks, bringing up Steve Pearce, who hits lefties quite well. With a 2-2 count, Pearce lifted an 81 MPH slider towards the Crawford Boxes in right field, a mere 315 feet away from home plate. Left fielder Tony Kemp, listed at 5’6″, ranged back, timed his jump and crashed into the scoreboard while holding onto the ball. The catch prevented two runs from scoring which would have extended the Astros’ deficit. Instead, the score remained 2-1.

Kemp’s catch will certainly be in the running for the best play of the postseason.