Behind one of their best pitching performances of the second half of the season, the Oakland Athletics were able to end their longest losing streak in 14 years.
The Athletics look to win their sixth straight over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday when the teams continue a three-game series.
Oakland (54-61) snapped a 10-game losing streak and improved to 4-0 against the Tigers (56-59) this season with a 4-2 win on Friday. The A’s are 10-4 against Detroit since the star of last season.
“This was a big relief, I think, for everybody,” said Athletics manager Bob Geren.
Oakland entered the series a major league-worst 2-17 since the All-Star break, with both the offense and pitching staff struggling. The starters had been particularly inefficient recently, going 0-6 with a 7.20 ERA during the losing streak—the longest over a single season for the A’s since they dropped 12 straight in April 1994.
Dallas Braden helped end the stretch of poor pitching on Friday, however, going seven innings while allowing two runs and five hits to lead Oakland to its first win since July 27 against Texas. Brad Ziegler pitched the eighth and ninth innings to extend his scoreless streak to 37 innings—tying Mike Torrez’s club record, set in 1976.
Braden was just the third Oakland pitcher since the All-Star break to pitch at least seven innings. The A’s lowered their ERA against Detroit this season to 2.37.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have lost seven of their last eight. With their loss Friday, they fell 8 1/2 games behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
“When a team is on a bad roll as were the A’s, you want to keep them down,” said Detroit losing pitcher Kenny Rogers. “We just couldn’t do that.”
Friday was the opener of a 10-game homestand for the Tigers following a 2-8 road trip. They lost Carlos Guillen after seven innings because of lower back spasms. Guillen, who is hitting .302 (19-for-63) with 17 runs scored since the All-Star break, is listed as day-to-day.
“It feels real tight right now,” Guillen said after the game. “It … just got worse as the night went on. I don’t know if I can play tomorrow. We just have to see.”
Detroit looks to bounce back when it gets its first-ever look at Dan Meyer (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who makes his first start in nearly a year for Oakland on Saturday.
The left-hander has made two relief appearances since being recalled from the minors on Aug. 3. He’s pitched a combined five innings, allowing four hits while striking out four.
Meyer takes the mound on Saturday in place of Sean Gallagher, who has been bothered by irritation in his throwing elbow and had his start pushed back. Meyer made three starts for Oakland last season, going 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA.
Armando Galarraga (9-4, 3.23) looks to follow up one of his best outings of the season when he counters for Detroit. Galarraga pitched seven innings on Sunday against Tampa Bay, allowing one run and four hits, but the Tigers lost 6-5 in 10 innings.
The right-hander has made two relief appearances against Oakland, allowing three runs over four innings.