DETROIT — power. And it has left the Tigers on the brink of elimination and simmering with frustration.
Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith hit home runs for the A's, who chased Anibal Sanchez in the fifth inning Monday and defeated the Tigers, 6-3, in Game 3 of an American League division series.
Oakland leads the series, 2-1.
Moss broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning with a home run and Smith's two-run drive later in the inning knocked out Sanchez from the game.
The game got a little tense in the ninth inning when A's closer Grant Balfour and Detroit hitter Victor Martinez started shouting at each other after a foul ball, causing benches and bullpens to empty.
"I don't know what happened. Honestly, I know that Balfour is fiery on the mound, he's yelling a lot and spitting everywhere," Moss said. "It's who he is. You know, sometimes it can ruffle the feathers of other teams."
The A's aren't worried about making friends, especially after losing to the Tigers in a five-game division series last year. Oakland can close out this series Tuesday and reach the Championship Series for the first time since 2006, when the Athletics were swept by the Tigers.
Oakland will send rookie Dan Straily to the mound against Doug Fister.
"There's no tricks. We've got to win the game tomorrow to try to extend it to Game 5. It's that simple," Manager Jim Leyland said. "We ran into another situation where we didn't put enough runs on the board and an excellent starting pitcher didn't have a very good day."
Sanchez, the AL's earned-run average leader, gave up six runs — five earned — and eight hits in 41/3 innings. Smith has four home runs against Sanchez, more than any other player.
"Sometimes he starts out a little slow, you figure he's going to get it going," Leyland said. "Today he just really didn't get it going. He made a couple of real bad pitches the last inning he was out there to Moss and Smith."
Oakland's Jarrod Parker gave up three runs in five innings and the Tigers couldn't rally against the bullpen.
Balfour pitched a hitless ninth inning for the save. Martinez had just hit a foul ball when he started looking back at Balfour, who yelled something at the designated hitter.
Martinez started slowly toward the mound, and players from both teams came running out. The situation eventually calmed and no players were ejected. Plate umpire Gary Darling said warnings were sufficient.
"I said, 'Why you staring me down like that?' " Balfour said. "He was staring me down. He knew what he was doing."
Martinez said Balfour threw in an obscenity when he yelled toward the plate.
"I'm not a rookie. I'm a veteran, and I'm a leader on my teams. I don't take that," Martinez said while including a few obscene words during his explanation. "He can't intimidate me."