Tigers 10, Athletics 1 (box score)
The top of the lineup continued to mash the ball and set the table for the rest of the red-hot Detroit Tigers’ offense on Sunday as they took the rubber match of the three-game weekend series from the Oakland Athletics in a rout, 10 to 1.
Prior to first pitch, the team was concerned with the lack of depth in the battered bullpen, but a few hours later, with a huge lead and great effort from Anibal Sanchez, the point was moot. The hurler would go on to pick up his second victory of the season.
Oakland starter Jarrod Parker came into the ballgame with an 0-1 record and bloated ERA of 6.48. His troubles continued as soon as Austin Jackson stepped to the plate. Jackson got the offense started, just as he has much of this season, by notching a base hit and scoring on a long double off the bat of Torii Hunter. Two batters later, Victor Martinez singled home Hunter, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Detroit continued its torrid hitting in the second as Alex Avila singled, and Jackson hit a line drive that just tucked past the left center field wall for his first home run of the season, making it 4-0. The Tigers added four runs in the fourth with the help of a Miguel Cabrera RBI single, Prince Fielder double, and Andy Dirks base hit. The offensive juggernaut scored single runs in the seventh and eighth to round out the scoring.
Jackson and Hunter each had huge games again, with Jackson going 4-for-6 with three RBI’s and three runs scored (and just missing out on his second homer of the game in his last at-bat) and Hunter going 3-for-5 with three extra base hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
On the pitching side, Sanchez gave the Tigers exactly what they needed–a deep outing from a starter. He was effective in seven innings, throwing 113 pitches, allowing just three hits and one run. At times Anibal appeared to struggle with his control (issuing four walks), particularly in the third and fourth innings.
In the third inning, the Athletics got two batters on base and Sanchez went 3-1 on Seth Smith before coming back to strike him out, recording one of his eight strikeouts on the afternoon. The next inning he loaded the bases but escaped with just one run scoring and would cruise the rest of the way.
The big bullpen question marks came from the fact that three pitchers would not be available on the day. Octavio Dotel was nursing an injury, and Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly needed rest. Twitter was flooded with concern that no lead was safe with the Tigers’ bullpen, especially with the short staff. Another option presented was to use Rick Porcello out of the bullpen as the team planned to skip his start due to a couple of upcoming off-days.
Porcello did indeed come in for the final two innings (proving that the best way to combat the Tigers’ bullpen woes is to throw a starter out there in late innings) and pitched flawlessly, retiring all six batters he faced. It marked the first time that Porcello has ever pitched out of the bullpen in a regular season game.
The Tigers have to feel happy with what was accomplished in Oakland. They took the series from a team that came in on Friday winners of eight straight games. The A’s added to that streak with a gut-wrenching Friday night walk-off win, but the Tigers were able to respond with two very nice ballgames against a very good team.
Detroit is now tied with Kansas City for the lead in the American League Central with a 7-5 record. They will take a day off and head to Seattle to open a three-game series against the Mariners on Tuesday.
- The Tigers used their everyday lineup for the first time in the series on Sunday.
- Several lengthy hit streaks were extended, including Jackson (six), and Hunter (nine). Omar Infante saw his nine-game streak come to an end.
- Jackson has reached base in every game this season
- Jackson and Hunter are tops in the league in hits, Fielder is fourth.
- The Tigers scored first for the 10th time in 12 games this season, and scored in the first inning for the eighth time.
- Detroit has won each of the last three series of the season after dropping the opening series to Minnesota.