Oakland, CA – Their secret weapon wasn’t able to save the day. Last years Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer was expected to put an end to the Tigers losing streak but instead it was a former A’s player who made a sneaky play for the winning run.
Pinch-runner Rajai Davis took over for J.D Martinez in the eighth after drawing a walk from Fernando Abad. Davis advanced to second on a pass ball then stole third without Abad even noticing while catcher Derek Norris desperately tried to get his attention.
“He timed it perfectly,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.
“That’s my specialty,” Davis said. “I thought it was possible after the first throw back from the catcher. No one was expecting it. It does take a little courage to do that at that time in the game. You have to be safe. If you get thrown out, it’s heavy.”
Austin Jackson grounded into a force out, scoring in Davis for the 6-5 victory over Oakland. Detroit evened the series behind a couple of home runs led by Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter. Cabrera homered in the first and drove in two runs while Hunter homered in the seventh to tie the game 5-5.
The Tigers got off to a good start, Hunter doubled and Cabrera scored him home with a RBI single for the 1-0 lead. Sonny Gray walked Victor Martinez and gave up a double to J.D. Martinez who scored in Cabrera making a 2-0 game in the first.
The A’s cut the lead in half when Jed Lowrie knocked a double down center field scoring in Yoenis Cespedes who leadoff the second with a single. Oakland tied the game 2-2 after Alberto Callaspo hit a double down the left field base line.
“I felt really good,” said Gray. “That’s why it’s a little bit frustrating. You felt like you had good stuff, and then you just get hit around a little bit.”
Cabrera took Gray deep to left field for his 4th home run of the season and gave Detroit the lead. Alex Avila hit a double RBI to extend the Tigers lead 4-2 in the fourth. But that didn’t stop Oakland’s offense.
“I left some pitches up there and they took advantage of it,” Scherzer said. “We know we haven’t played our best baseball and it’s always good to get a win on the road.”
Scherzer was called on a balk after an awkward pickoff attempt and Josh Reddick scored cutting the lead down to one. John Jaso followed with a two-run homer to right field and gave A’s the lead for the first time tonight.
“Scherzer fooled me with every changeup he threw tonight,” said Jaso. “Except that one. He left it up, and I was looking to hit it hard.”
Gray tied a season-high allowing four runs tossing six innings and was left with no-decision. The bullpen is responsible for 10 of the 21 losses for Oakland. The once comfortable lead in the American League West is now in jeopardy as the Los Angeles Angels are a game and a half behind the A’s.
Notes – Josh Donaldson has homered for the fourth time this year in back-to-back games and the eighth time in his career. He’s reached base safely in each of his last 41 games as a third baseman, which is the longest streak by an Athletics third baseman since at least 1914.
So it’s no surprise that Donaldson is the leading vote getter among the American League third baseman in this years MLB All-Star balloting results released today with 464,367 votes. Oakland has not had a position player in the All-Star game since Ramon Hernandez in 2003 and have not had a player selected since Jason Giambi in 200.
“It’s terrific,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Rightly so he should be first in the voting. Its taken us a little while to get some recognition, for him to be in that position means that nationally we’re getting noticed more as a team. We do have some players here and we’re not that little engine that could.”