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.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.