OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Detroit Tigers pounded out three runs in the first inning and the pitching did the rest.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the first and hung on to beat the Athletics, 3-2, to win Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday night.
Max Scherzer struck out 11 in the seven innings and the bullpen came up big for the final two innings.
Lefty Drew Smyly had two strikeouts and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Joaquin Benoit came on to get the final out of the eighth, then faced the middle of the Athletics' order in the ninth to earn the save.
Scherzer allowed three hits, two walks and two earned runs over seven innings.
Yoenis Cespedes was the only Oakland batter that really gave Scherzer trouble. Cespedes tripled in the second inning and hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to pull the A's to within a run.
The Tigers went on to beat the A's in front of a sellout crowd of 48,401 at O.co Coliseum. It was the largest baseball crowd at the Coliseum since June 27, 2004.
Scherzer allowed two baserunners through the first five innings.
He gave up a one-out triple to Cespedes in the second inning. Scherzer got Josh Reddick to strike out swinging on a 98 m.p.h. fastball, then Eric Sogard grounded out to third.
Scherzer gave up a two-out walk to Coco Crisp in the third. Crisp went to second on a wild pitch before Jed Lowrie grounded out to second.
Scherzer fanned the Nos. 3-4-5 hitters in the fourth inning. He got Josh Donaldson looking, then Brandon Moss and Cespedes swinging. That gave Scherzer seven strikeouts through four innings.
Much was made of the lack of Tigers' lack of offense in the final weeks of the regular season.
Over the last week the players were asked repeatedly how they could suddenly turn things around in the playoffs after struggling to score runs in the final week of the regular season.
The Tigers answered Friday with a three-run first inning against the Athletics.
It was the most runs the Tigers have ever scored in the first inning of a postseason game.
A's starter Bartolo Colon hadn't allowed three earned runs in a game since Aug. 13. He allowed a total of five earned runs over his last six starts.
Austin Jackson led off the game with a line drive to right for a double.
Colon, who went 190 1/3 innings in the regular season without hitting a better, hit the second batter he faced in the postseason. Colon's had pitched the most innings in baseball this season without hitting a batter.
After barely missing Torii Hunter on the first pitch he threw to him, Colon hit Hunter on the second pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs for Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera, who drove in 137 runs in the regular season, followed with an RBI single to center. Hunter went from first to third on A's center fielder Coco Crisp, who doesn't throw very well.
That allowed Hunter to score when Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to short.
Victor Martinez hit a double and came home to score on an RBI single by Alex Avila. The ground ball Avila hit deflected off the glove of A's first baseman Daric Barton and into left field.
With one out in the sixth, Colon gave up consecutive singles to Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Omar Infante.
Third base coach Tom Brookens waved Martinez home on Infante's single to right and the A's Josh Reddick made a perfect throw home for the second out. Andy Dirks then popped out to third.
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