'Odd man out' Smith key to A's playoff run
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DETROIT -- Seth Smith has gone from the odd man out, in his manager’s own words, to a key man in the Oakland A’s lineup.

Smith, the outfielder who found himself on the bench for much of September, is 4-for-8 in two starts at designated hitter during the American League Division Series. His two-run homer in the fifth inning of Game 3 on Monday helped the A’s secure a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers that has them one win away from the AL Championship Series.

Smith, obtained in a trade from Colorado before the 2012 season, often sat against left-handed starters while with the Rockies. Toward the end of this season, when Daric Barton started getting time at first base and Brandon Moss slid to the outfield, Smith’s playing time again was slashed.

“He’s a guy who’s been the odd man out as far as starts,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before this series began. “There’s no really set deal for him, but one thing with Smitty, you know he’s gonna be prepared.”

Smith started just seven games and had just 28 at-bats in September, but he hit .393 for the month, showing a knack for how to step in the batter’s box and immediately produce.

“My whole career, I’ve kind of been in and out of the lineup,” Smith said. “You understand you need to produce when you’re in there, regardless of how long it’s been.”

"He’s been great for us," A’s right fielder Josh Reddick said after Game 3. "He doesn’t get the at-bats that some people think he deserves, but he’s been great for us the last two games. I can probably be positive that the same lineup is gonna be out there (in Game 4) and he’ll be in there the rest of the way."