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Athletics 4, Tigers 3: Bullpen blows late lead in MLB The Show simulation

Let’s be honest though: there were some video game shenanigans in this one.

Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!

Seth Brown punched a single past third baseman Jeimer Candelario to score Austin Allen, and the Oakland Athletics capped off a late-inning comeback to clinch a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday evening.

Before we get to the play-by-play, it’s worth acknowledging that this was a very... convenient ninth inning for the A’s. Joe Jimenez had Allen on the ropes with two outs, and dropped a changeup at the bottom of the strike zone that was called a ball. Two pitches later, Allen turned on a 3-2 fastball for a game-tying double. Following Allen’s double, a Jimenez fastball squirted away from catcher Austin Romine, his first passed ball of the year, before Brown’s single just barely eluded Candelario at third.

Prior to those hijinx, the Tigers were in control for most of this one. They took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Jeimer Candelario and Cameron Maybin hit solo home runs off A’s starter Daniel Mengden, who was forced to deal with traffic on the bases all game long. The Tigers offense knocked Mengden out in the fifth inning, but couldn’t solve reliever Mike Fiers until Austin Romine launched a mammoth solo shot to left in the seventh, extending his team’s lead to 3-0.

On the pitching side, Michael Fulmer was dominant. The righthander was rarely troubled, and worked his longest outing of the season. The A’s tallied just five hits and a walk against him in seven innings, and struck out nine times. Khris Davis’ solo home run in the bottom of the seventh was Fulmer’s only blemish on the game. Buck Farmer looked equally strong in the eighth, retiring the first two hitters he faced, but Mark Canha turned on an elevated fastball for another solo shot, bringing the A’s within one run.

That set the stage for the ninth. Matt Olson singled to lead off the inning, and pinch runner Jorge Mateo stole second base with one out. Jimenez retired Stephen Piscotty for the second out of the inning, setting the stage for Allen’s should-be-strikeout-turned-double that tied the game, and led to Oakland’s win.