Brett Anderson dazzles in Game 3 of ALDS as Athletics shut out Tigers and stay alive

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A’s left-hander Brett Anderson made only six starts during the regular season and had not pitched since September 19 because of an oblique strain, so there was reason for concern about how he’d fare in Game 3 of the ALDS on Tuesday night against the Tigers.

It didn’t take long for those concerns to disappear.

Anderson came out scorching in the top of the first inning, fanning Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson and No. 2 hitter Omar Infante before inducing a groundout from MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.

Anderson wound up allowing just two hits over six innings while punching out six Detroit batters as the A’s rolled to a 2-0 victory over the Tigers in what could have been a knockout game.

The Oakland bullpen also deserves great credit. Ryan Cook cruised through the seventh, Sean Doolittle fanned all three batters he faced in the eighth and Grant Balfour raged his way to a scoreless ninth.

The A’s will throw A.J. Griffin in Game 4 on Wednesday against Max Scherzer. We have a series, folks.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.