DETROIT (AP)—Steve Avery couldn’t have asked for much more.
“To come in in that situation was pretty exciting,” said Avery, who was born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Taylor, Mich., and now lives in Dearborn. “Especially with the bases loaded. I need every (win) I can get now.”
Inge then hit a long drive that left fielder Eric Byrnes went back to catch. But he had no chance to get Monroe at the plate.
“They helped me,” Inge said. “I had been fed slider, slider, slider. I said, ‘I’m going to make sure I look for something off-speed from a lefty and try to get it up.’ That helped me stay back, looking for a breaking ball.”
It was Avery’s first big league win since July 9, 1999, when he started for Cincinnati against Cleveland.
“Four years out of the game,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “He put in a lot of work and he was rewarded with a win.”
Detroit won its ninth game of the season. The Tigers are the only team in the majors with less than 10 wins.
“Obviously, we (pitchers) want to get wins,” Hudson said. “But our team didn’t get a win and that’s what’s more frustrating.”
Oakland tied the game at 1 in the seventh on Byrnes’ bloop RBI double down the right-field line that scored Erubiel Durazo from second base.
Gary Knotts shut out the Athletics on three hits for 6 2-3 innings before Byrnes’ double. He held Oakland hitless until one out in the fourth, when Durazo lined a single to right. Knotts allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He struck out two and walked one.
“That was a pretty darn good performance by Gary Knotts,” Trammell said. “When they pitch like that, you’d like to get ‘em a win.”
Jamie Walker allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth inning for the Tigers.
Franklyn German came on in the ninth for Detroit and loaded the bases with three walks. But Avery came on and fanned Hatteberg looking.
Hudson allowed one run and seven hits. He struck out three and walked one.
“Another strong outing for Hudson,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said. “And nothing to show for it.”
Monroe’s home run with one out in the bottom of the fourth over the shortened left-field fence gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. It came on the 13th pitch of the at-bat, after he fouled off eight of Hudson’s pitches.
“That’s the best at-bat I’ve ever seen, swear to God,” Hudson said.
The home run came on the only changeup Hudson threw Monroe all night.
“That guy was battling, he wasn’t giving in,” Monroe said. “That makes it better.”
Avery, the MVP of the 1991 NL championship series, won 18 games for the Atlanta Braves twice in the early 1990s. He missed the past two years following left shoulder surgery in 1999.
The Tigers purchased Avery’s contract from Triple-A Toledo last Friday.
The 33-year-old left-hander made 19 appearances with four minor league teams in 2000. He set an NLCS record in 1991 by pitching 16 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“He’s earned his way back,” Trammell said.
Hudson is third in major league history in winning percentage among pitchers with at least 50 victories at .713 (67-27). Teammate Barry Zito, slated to start Thursday, is first at .722 (52-20). … Detroit’s Shane Halter (8-for-24 with two home runs and four RBIs in his last six games), didn’t play because Trammell wanted to get as many left-handed batters into the lineup aspossible against Hudson. … Monroe’s home run broke his 0-for-15 streak.