Athletics 9, Tigers 5

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DETROIT (AP)—A pitcher’s dream turned into a nightmare.

The Detroit Tigers gave Zach Miner a five-run lead in the first, Mark Kotsay’s three-run homer the next inning helped Oakland erase the deficit and the Athletics added four runs later in a 9-5 victory Saturday.

“I looked up at the scoreboard after that—I pretty much wanted to kick myself in the head,” Miner said.

Milton Bradley and Marco Scutaro each added homers and Joe Blanton overcame a rough start for the A’s, who maintained their slim lead over Texas in the AL West. They went ahead 6-5 in the fifth on Mark Ellis’ second sacrifice fly.

“We had a chance to get buried, but Blanton bowed his neck,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said.

The A’s can win their third straight series on the road Sunday, and win the season series against Detroit.

The Tigers lost for the first time in four games, but still have the best record in the majors and a comfortable lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

“We’re not going to win every day,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I’ll have a nice dinner tonight. I’m going to relax and enjoy it because they did everything a manager could ask for. They gave us a nice win last night, they came out today ready to play.”

The Tigers got off to a great start with five runs in the first inning, three on Carlos Guillen’s double. Then, Blanton and Oakland’s defense shut down the Tigers.

Blanton (10-8) gave up five runs and nine hits over five innings.

“When we got the five runs, I just tried to keep it there,” he said. “They got some pretty good swings early in the game on good pitches.”

Brad Halsey entered in the sixth and got out of a two-on, one-out jam with a strikeout and flyout. After striking out Curtis Granderson to start the seventh, he was replaced by Kiko Calero, who gave up two singles before getting an out. Justin Duchscherer ended the inning by getting Guillen to line out to right. Huston Street pitched the ninth.

“What the bullpen did was get big outs when we needed it,” Macha said.

Many of Detroit’s 14 hits were negated by Oakland’s defense, which turned three double plays, including one on Kotsay’s throw to second when Placido Polanco tried to advance on a fly in the fifth.

“They got timely hitting, and we didn’t,” Tigers catcher Vance Wilson said.

Miner gave up five runs—all in the second, wasting a 5-0 lead—and seven hits over 2 1-3 innings, easily the rookie’s shortest outing. He gave up five runs in his previous start, a loss to Kansas City after winning six straight games.

“I’m assuming that he’ll make his next start,” Leyland said.

Wilfredo Ledezma (1-1) gave up three runs, three hits and four walks over 4 2-3 innings. He had five strikeouts.

Bradley, who is hitting nearly .500 since coming off the disabled list July 12, put the A’s ahead 8-5 with a 436-foot shot to left in the sixth.

Scutaro’s solo homer in the eighth, which gave the A’s a 9-5 lead, came on Roman Colon’s first pitch.

The Tigers jumped ahead in the first with four singles, including Magglio Ordonez’s RBI, and Guillen’s three-run double before Blanton got an out. Brandon Inge’s sacrifice fly made it 5-0.

Oakland led off the second with three singles and Ellis’ sacrifice fly brought home its first run. Jason Kendall had an RBI single and Kotsay followed with his game-tying, three-run homer.

“I think the team showed a lot of heart and a lot of character,” Kotsay said. “We didn’t bow our heads going in against a good ballclub.”


Detroit DH Dmitri Young was 1-for-4 in his second game back with the team after being on the DL since May 22 with a leg injury and personal issues, including treatment for substance abuse. … A’s SS Bobby Crosby, who left Friday’s game with a sore back, did not play and might miss Sunday’s game. … Tigers LF Craig Monroe returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game with a hamstring injury. He went 2-for-5 with a run scored. … Detroit 2B Placido Polanco had four hits, matching a season high.

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