“It’s paying off,” Swisher said of his plan at the plate.
Swisher also had a two-run homer in the second inning, the second time this season he’s hit two in a game and the fourth in his career. Swisher has six homers, tying him with Eric Chavez for the team lead.
“I’m being a lot more consistent, trying to make every swing look the same,” said Swisher, who is riding a nine-game hitting streak. “I’m doing what the situation calls for and trying not to do too much.”
Justin Duchscherer (1-0) pitched two innings for the victory, helping the A’s win for only the second time in their last seven games. Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances, bouncing back from Sunday’s loss in which his consecutive saves streak ended at 21 games.
Street, who hadn’t blown a save since last July 10, was eager to get back in a game.
“You want to get back out there and prove to your teammates and yourself that you can still do it,” he said.
The Tigers began a nine-game road trip against the AL West—three each at Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles—with another frustrating loss a day after manager Jim Leyland launched a postgame tirade following a 10-2 home loss to the Cleveland Indians.
He said Tuesday the outburst would be left in the past.
“Everything hasn’t been hunkey dorey,” said Leyland, who replaced the fired Alan Trammell after last season. “It hasn’t been good enough, or I wouldn’t be here. … It wasn’t Alan Trammell’s fault.”
Leyland didn’t like what he saw in the fourth, when shortstop Carlos Guillen committed two throwing errors leading to an unearned run. Frank Thomas singled to start the inning, then advanced on Guillen’s first mistake. Thomas scored three batters later on Guillen’s wild throw toward first while trying to turn a double play.
Ivan Rodriguez hit a two-out RBI double in the sixth, then Magglio Ordonez tied the game with a bloop single to shallow right that scored Rodriguez moments later for a Detroit team that won its first five games but has since lost seven of its last nine.
Mark Ellis returned to the A’s lineup after getting the previous three games off to work on his swing and ended an 0-for-15 slump with a double leading off the third. He followed with a fifth-inning single after entering the game batting .167 with two RBIs.
“I felt really good,” Ellis said. “I saw the ball well. Sometimes you just walk in there and see the ball well.”
Loaiza, who started the 300th game of his career, called it a “big relief” to pitch well after losing his first two outings with the A’s.
Swisher hit both homers against Verlander (1-2), who struck out seven and walked three in seven strong innings. The rookie right-hander, making his first career appearance against the A’s, threw 121 pitches and several of those were clocked at 100 mph.
“You blink and the ball’s in the mitt,” said Swisher, who struck out in the fourth. “He struck me out with a 101 mph fastball. I was there in person, I saw it. I didn’t see it. I heard it whiz past me.”
Verlander wanted another chance to throw the first home run pitch to Swisher.
“I tried to guide it in there and I guided it right down the middle of the plate,” Verlander said. “If there’s one pitch I’d like back it’s that one. That was the biggest pitch of the game.”
Detroit RHP closer Todd Jones, on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring, threw 20 pitches in a simulated game and said it went well. Jones is slated to throw again Wednesday, perhaps going up to 25 pitches. He hopes to be activated Friday at Seattle, but Leyland wouldn’t commit to that. “I think this weekend,” Leyland said. “Maybe by Seattle. We’ve got some big hurdles to climb with him yet. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.” … Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with a walk and is batting .312 (185-for-593) with 21 home runs and 83 RBIs in 149 career games against the A’s. … Struggling A’s 1B Dan Johnson likely won’t play until Thursday, getting a couple of days to work on his problems at the plate. … Swisher’s other two-homer game this year came last Wednesday at Minnesota.