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A's notebook: Stephen Vogt's arm nearly as valuable as Sonny Gray's

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt wound up in the middle of some of the biggest moments of Saturday's American League Division Playoff game. He struck out to end the seventh inning after a long at-bat against Justin Verlander, ending one of the A's most promising threats of the night. And of course he had the game-winning hit in the ninth.

Vogt also played an integral role behind the plate, not only in handling young pitcher Sonny Gray, but on a key play in the top of the fifth inning.

With the game scoreless, the Tigers had runners on first and third with one out and leadoff man Austin Jackson at the plate. On a 3-2 pitch, runner Jose Iglesias broke for second base; Gray struck out Jackson, and Vogt gunned down Iglesias at the bag to end the inning emphatically.

Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers ALDS Game 2

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“Sonny is usually quick to the plate, but that particular pitch, he needed to make a pitch and was probably as slow to the plate as he was all game,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “And Stephen got off an unbelievable throw. ... It looked like there was interference or obstruction in front of him and had to throw over, but your instincts tell you to throw the ball. That is a huge play in the game.”

The Tigers put just one man aboard over the last four innings.

'I GOT NOTHING'

Verlander, who has pitched in a few playoff games, was relaxed and upbeat after Detroit's loss. He had some funny moments at the podium, such as when he recounted that 10-pitch at-bat by Vogt in the seventh.

“The one really good one I threw him, that probably would have landed just beyond the plate,” Verlander said. “He was able to stay alive and that's like, 'OK, you know he's up there grinding, because he was able to stay alive.

“After that pitch, Alex (Avila) came out and I put my glove over my mouth, and me and him didn't say a word. We got three-quarters out to the mound and I just went, 'I got nothing.' And Alex said, 'How about a changeup?' And I said, 'OK, let's go with that.' ”

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