for this game

Tigers can sweep A's, advance to first World Series since 1984

Oct 14, 2006 - 2:50 PM Oakland at Detroit 4:30 pm EDT American League Championship Series Tigers lead, 3-0

DETROIT (Ticker) -- The "Motor City" is revving up for its first World Series in 22 years.

One of the most improbable stories baseball has seen in recent memory, the Detroit Tigers can complete a four-game sweep and advance to the World Series with a victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

The Tigers can become the third American League wild card team in the last five years to reach the World Series. They have not been to the Fall Classic since 1984, when they beat the San Diego Padres in five games.

It certainly appears to have the makings of a magical season for Detroit, which closed out the New York Yankees in four games in the ALDS and has won three straight contests to open this series.

The Tigers' hero on Friday was Kenny Rogers, who pitched 7 1/3 spectacular innings. The lefthander combined with Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones on a two-hitter in the 3-0 triumph.

Placido Polanco had an RBI single and Craig Monroe smacked a solo homer for Detroit, which has held its opponent to three runs or fewer in five of its last six games.

The Tigers are just three years removed from a 43-119 campaign in which they set an American League record for losses. One of the primary casualties of that young team was Jeremy Bonderman, who went 6-19 as a 21-year-old rookie.

But Bonderman (1-0, 2.16 ERA) came full circle this year, going 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 34 starts this season while striking out 202 batters. He will be seeking his seventh straight winning decision in 14 games at Comerica Park.

"I know a lot of the guys, but it's too big of a series not to get caught up in what happened in the past, " said Bonderman, who was drafted by Oakland in 2001. "We've got to win every day to play again. It's my goal to win a game for the Detroit Tigers and go to the World Series hopefully."

Bonderman was more than impressive in Game Four of the Tigers' ALDS series-cliching victory over the Yankees. On October 7, the hard-throwing righthander yielded just two runs with one walk and four strikeouts through 8 1/3 innings.

"This is a shot of a lifetime to go to the World Series, and I want to do the best I can to give my team the opportunity to go there," Bonderman said.

Oakland hopes Dan Haren (1-0, 3.00) can provide a shot in the arm for a pitching staff that is allowing four runs per game this series. Haren surrendered two runs and nine hits through six frames to help clinch the division series, 8-3, against Minnesota in Game Three on October 6.

The 26-year-old Haren is winless in three career meetings vs. Detroit, including getting pounded for seven runs and nine hits in six innings during a 7-4 defeat here on July 21.

"I think it's about controlling emotions," Haren said. "I've got to concentrate on keeping the ball down, and I'm sure the energy in the park is going to be great and the atmosphere will be great."

The Boston Red Sox are the only team in major league history to ever rally from a three games to none deficit in the ALCS, winning four straight over the Yankees on their way to winning the 2004 World Series.

If there is a Game Five, it is set for Sunday here as Oakland ace Barry Zito and Detroit's Nate Robertson battle in a rematch of Game One starters.

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