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Jarrod Parker, one of a record three rookie pitchers to start in this series, pitched well again but proved to be no match for Verlander for a second time this series. After being hurt by his own error in a Game 1 loss, it was two wild pitches in a two-run third that helped do in Parker this time.
Infante led off the inning with a single and advanced on a wild pitch. Austin Jackson followed with an RBI double and went to third on Quintin Berry's sacrifice. Jackson scored on a second wild pitch, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead.
Parker left with runners on first and third with one out in the seventh and sat in the dugout with a towel draped over his head in frustration. That only grew deeper when the bullpen those two runners and two others to score that inning to make it 6-0.
The A's were never supposed to be in this position after trading top starters Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and closer Andrew Bailey in the offseason as they were building for the future.
That future came quicker than anyone expected as Oakland overcame a major league-low payroll of $59.5 million to beat out the big-spending Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels for the AL West title. They wrapped up that title with a three-game sweep of Texas in the final regular season series, bringing a rare excitement and intensity to an out-of-date stadium that has struggled to attract fans in recent years.
That carried over to the postseason as the A's staved off elimination the previous two nights, including the dramatic comeback from two runs down in the ninth inning Wednesday to force Game 5.
The A's were hoping to ride the momentum from that three-run rally to win a postseason series for just the second time since 1990. Four teams previously had overcome a two-run deficit in the ninth inning or later of a potential elimination game and went on to win the series.
Instead of joining teams like last year's St. Louis Cardinals that accomplished the unlikely feat, the A's can only take those memories -- not a series win -- with them from their 15th walkoff win of the season Wednesday night.
"This team has just been so amazing throughout the entire year," third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "We've put a really great run together. It was something special and hopefully something to look forward to next year."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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