Tigers hitters struggling, but not panicking

OAKLAND - Stringing hits together hasn't been an easy task for the Detroit Tigers in the first three game of their American League Divison Series with the Oakland Athletics.

Coco Crisp robbed Prince Fielder of a home run during the A's Game 3 win, and only added to the first baseman's playoff woes at the plate.

"I thought I had a hit," he said after the game.

Fielder has gone 1-for-12 in the first three games. The Tigers mustered only four hits Monday night, and the team's first four batters were held hitless until Miguel Cabrera's ninth inning single.

"There's no reason to panic, even until the last game. The more stress you put on yourself, the worse off you are," outifelder Andy Dirks said.

Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who threw a stellar 6 1/3 innings in Game 3, said he expects the run support to come sooner than later.

"When you got guys on your team like the Triple Crown like Miguel, or Fielder, at some point they're gonna make the runs," he said.

In three games, the Tigers have only scored one run off a hit against the A's starting pitchers. Getting to the starters early is clearly part of the gameplan, but the work is nothing of a surprise to centerfielder Austin Jackson.

"They got a good pitching staff. We battled them tough during the season, so we knew it wasn't gonna be any different come this time," Jackson explained.

Many of the Tigers were quick to point out they still hold a 2-1 series advantage, and Jackson said being in a clinching position is always a better place to be.

As far as the hitting woes go?

"You just gotta keep swinging," Jackson said.

In Game 4, the Tigers will have that opportunity against A.J. Griffin, whose only regular season loss came against Detroit September 18. Griffin gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers in that game.

"It gives you a little edge because you've seen him before, but this time of year, emotions are so high," Jackson said.

"You may look at film and see what he did against you, and have a whole different plan against him."

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad's updates on Twitter @BradGalli .

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