The Oakland Athletics came into Detroit on Monday looking to exact a bit of revenge and take their frustration out on the team that has bewitched them over the last couple of seasons. They left Wednesday afternoon at 0-3. The Detroit Tigers found a different, yet equally gut-punching way of beating the team with the best record in the American League on each day, taking today’s series finale, 9-3.
The A’s sport the major league’s best road record and were facing a team with a .500 record at home, but that had no effect in the series. The Tigers earned their first home series sweep since the first series (March 31-April 2) and the first series sweep at home of more than two games this year.
Detroit has swept three of their last four series and have gone 11-2 since falling 1.5 games behind Kansas City in the AL Central. The 47-34 record is their best record after 81 games since 2007.
It did not look like it would be the Tigers, or starter Justin Verlander‘s day early on. We remember what Verlander has done against the A’s in the last two postseasons, but Oakland had his number in the first inning. Coco Crisp led off the game with a homer and Brandon Moss sent another one out a couple hitters later. These shots were all no-doubters and even Verlander’s outs in the first couple innings were hit hard.
He settled down nicely, however, and let the Tigers chip away at the deficit, scoring single runs in the first, third, and fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
The turning point of the game came in the top of the sixth. With the score 3-2, Moss led off with a double and Derek Norris singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Verlander worked out of the jam by getting a pop out and two fly outs.
The Tigers’ bats went to work in the bottom half of the sixth when Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila walked, Andrew Romine sacrificed them over. Rajai Davis brought home two on a single, Ian Kinsler singled in one and Miguel Cabrera doubled in two runs. Torii Hunter added an RBI single (his third RBI of the day) later in the inning as the Tigers batted around for six runs.
Credit Jackson for having a nice game in his return to the lead-off spot. After striking out in the first inning (making him 0-10 with six strikeouts in leadoff to that point), he notched two hits and an RBI.
Also worth noting, Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation.
The Detroit Tigers will continue their nine-game homestand by welcoming in the AL East cellar dweller Tampa Bay Rays for a holiday weekend series beginning tomorrow night. The Rays have played much better lately and have won four straight and are on the verge of sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx, currently up 5-3 in the eighth inning.