|Verlander dominated the A's in Game 1. (US Presswire)|
Hero: Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true. Tigers ace Justin Verlander went out and did what aces do in the postseason. He put his team on his back. That is, after the first hitter of the game -- Coco Crisp -- homered. From there, Verlander was utterly dominant. He worked seven strong innings, allowing only three hits and that one run while striking out 11.
Goat: There really wasn't one for the A's, at least not a glaring one. They got beat by one of baseball's elite pitchers and didn't really play that poorly. If we have to make a decision, it would be Jarrod Parker for his botched play heading toward first base in the third inning. That play allowed the Tigers to score the go-ahead run and they never looked back.
Turning point: When Brandon Moss' deep fly ball -- down two, with one man on base -- in the top of the eighth inning landed in the glove of Tigers' right fielder Andy Dirks. It looked like it was the game-tying homer while it hung in the air, but Dirks camped under it against the right-center wall. If that ball had traveled just a few more feet, we would have had a brand new ballgame on our hands. That would be the A's last scoring threat.
It was over when: When Jose Valverde is waiting in the bullpen to hold onto a two-run lead, it's never over until the final out is recorded. On this night, however, the man they call Papa Grande was on. He struck out Josh Donaldson. Then he struck out Seth Smith. And then induced a soft pop out off the bat of George Kottaras to win the game.
Next: They'll spar again in Comerica Park in just a few hours. Game 2 is scheduled for 12:07 p.m. ET Sunday and pits A's lefty Tommy Milone (13-10, 3.74) against Tigers right-hander Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45).