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10/14/06 8:45 PM ET

Athletics Short Hops: Game 4

Club puts up a fight, but is unable to avert the loss

DETROIT -- Fielding the A's Game 4 American League Championship Series-clinching loss to the Tigers on a short hop ...

In < 25 words...
The A's put together an early burst on offense, but couldn't get timely hits in the late innings, leading to the end of their season.

Frozen moment
Dan Haren had gotten out of a fifth-inning jam with the lead still intact, but barely at 3-2. He had a chance to get his groove back in the sixth, but instead gave up a game-tying homer to Magglio Ordonez on the first pitch of the inning. It was symbolic of the series in that the A's never seemed to be able to hold down the Tigers when they needed to. Ordonez would also be heard from later, belting the walk-off blast that won the series.

Big number
Zero. That was how many hits Frank Thomas, the vaunted Oakland slugger, had in the series.

Game ball
Milton Bradley. The A's best hitter in this series was hobbled after taking off from second on what wound up a foul ball in the second inning. Bradley flexed his left leg, as a trainer and manager Ken Macha came out to take a look at him. But with the A's just one loss from elimination, Bradley toughed it out and stayed in the game. He wound up scoring on Eric Chavez's double to right. Bradley had three hits and hit .500 in the series.

Sense of October
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of a tie game, Macha took no chances, bringing in closer Huston Street. The move worked to perfection, with Carlos Guillen hitting a 5-3 double play to Eric Chavez. Only at such a crucial stage would a manager bring in his closer so early. It worked again in the eighth, when Street was unscored upon. But Street was victimized in the ninth by the series-ending homer by Ordonez.

Lines of the Game
4 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Comment: Bradley was the one consistent threat at the plate for the A's in this series.

5+ innings, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Comment: Haren gave the A's the lift they needed early, but he couldn't sustain it, leaving the bullpen in charge of the final four innings.

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"I told the players, they can't let this series diminish what they did this year. I thought it was a tremendous year. Just watching that game today, that's a tremendous baseball game. The guys played their tails off and that's all you can ask. There were great defensive plays, and guys were playing with tremendous intensity. That's all you can ask." -- Macha

Next step
A's general manager Billy Beane will put together a blueprint for next season that must deal with the likelihood of ace Barry Zito leaving as a free agent. Thomas is also a free agent, though the A's should have a decent shot of bringing him back. If the Big Hurt does leave, Beane will have to find another big bat.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.