Oakland, CA – It was another late rally but this time it wasn’t enough for the win. The A’s rallied late scoring two runs but just as in past innings they came up short and the Tigers split the series with the 5-4 victory over Oakland.
“We had plenty of opportunities today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We had some situation at-bats where we didn’t come through. We still put ourselves in a position to win, kept fighting in the ninth and had the winning run on base.”
Oakland finished 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position failing to score. Closer Joe Nathan gave up runs in the ninth inning for the second straight day. Yoenis Cespedes hit a RBI single and Josh Reddick doubled scoring in a run to cut the lead to 5-4.
In two innings, the A’s left runners on after loading the bases failing to score any runs. Rick Porcello loaded the bases with no outs in the second. He gave up a a single to Alberto Callaspo and issued a free pass to both Josh Reddick and Punto. But Eric Sogard hit into a home-to-first double play and Coco Crisp grounded out to first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
“It’s baseball,” said Nick Punto. “Sometimes you get those big hits, sometimes you don’t. The good thing about this team is they’re so good at turning the page, and we’ll be ready to play tomorrow.
Punto’s two-run homer in the fourth gave Oakland the 2-1 lead. But Detroit responded quickly, Ian Kinsler knocked a double down right field and tied the game 2-2 after scoring in Andrew Romine. Then Miguel Cabrera put the Tigers back in front with a sacrifice fly.
Cabrera and Victor Martinez drove in two runs. Kinsler double twice, scored twice and drove in a run. Martinez has hit safely in 28 of the last 31 games. Despite their struggles on the road, the Tigers won the last two games tying the series.
“It was a grind giving up eight hits and only giving up three runs against that lineup,” Jesse Chavez said. “It tells you something.”
Chavez tossed six innings and had allowed a season-high tying eight hits in each of his last two starts. He had a shaky start in the first after walking the first two batters then allowed a single from Victor Martinez to load the bases with one out in the first frame.
J.D. Martinez grounded out into a double play to end the inning and Chavez got out of the jam. Jim Johnson came in and surrendered two runs in the seventh. Johnson’s struggles continue, 13 of the 16 runs he’s given up have been at home this season.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Johnson. “I’m throwing pretty good pitches. Just feel like it’s a little bit of bad luck. I don’t think it’s as bad as it really seems, but I think everyone else thinks that way.”
Detroit extended their lead 5-2 when Victor Martinez doubled and scored in Don Kelly and Cabrera. That was it for the Tigers offense and obviously enough for the win. Nathan got himself into a jam in the ninth and was able to force pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie to ground out to end the game.
“When Joe is on, you’re going to get quick outs,” Detroit’s manager Brad Ausmus said. “He wasn’t today. The last couple of games he hasn’t been vintage Joe Nathan. I’m sure it’s not the way he wanted to go out, but he did save the game.”