The Oakland A’s entered Saturday’s clash with the Tigers with aspirations of extending their winning streak and getting sweet revenge on Justin Verlander.
Instead, the A’s came up empty, as another magical winning streak came to a screeching halt at the hands of Verlander and a homer-happy Tigers offense.
Verlander’s pitch count was inflated by Oakland’s offense, but he still managed to throw six solid innings, picking up his second win of the season by allowing just one run. The only run came on an RBI single from Derek Norris, a ball that glanced off the glove of third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
The A’s had three hits in the second inning and three hits overall off of Verlander, and two of those hits were weak flares.
In other words, Verlander, the owner of a 2-1 record and 1.96 ERA, pitched very well once again.
Anderson, on the other hand, struggled greatly. While he lasted until the sixth inning, pitching 5 2/3 innings, he surrendered seven runs, three home runs and eight hits. Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder and Jhonny Peralta all took him deep, and Brayan Pena hit an RBI double to knock Anderson out of the game. Austin Jackson crushed a double off of Pat Neshek, which capped off the scoring for the Tigers.
Anderson left some pitches over the plate, as all three home runs were belt-high and over the plate. None of the pitches were faster than 90 miles per hour, and the average was 86 miles per hour (out of the three home runs). Anderson received a lead to work with, but he blew it and let the Tigers take a near-insurmountable 7-1 lead.
While a 7-1 deficit is daunting, if any team can handle trailing, it’s the A’s. Oakland made a rally in the eighth inning, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Jed Lowrie hit with the A’s trailing 7-3, but he struck out when a screwball from Joaquin Benoit crossed the inside corner. Benoit continued to dominate, striking out three in the ninth inning to finish with four strikeouts.
Neshek pitched 2 1/3 innings and surrendered just two hits. His pitching helped Oakland stay in the game, as Oakland rallied back in the eighth. The A’s could have mustered a run and made the game interesting in the ninth, but Brandon Moss struck out on a questionable call. The count was 2-2, so he definitely could have been retired on the 3-2 pitch. However, there was no doubt that Phil Coke’s pitch was low and outside. Bob Melvin was angered by this call, and he was tossed for arguing.
Even though this call hurt the A’s, Detroit’s offensive onslaught made it unlikely for the Tigers to lose. Fielder boasts a remarkable .520 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .436 batting average, and he hurt the A’s by reaching base four times. Seth Smith reached four times for the A’s, and Norris and Josh Donaldson reached three times. However, the A’s only recorded seven hits, while the Tigers recorded 10 (and hit .375 with runners on base).
The result? Oakland’s winning streak is over, and Detroit has a chance to win the series on Sunday.