Athletics 7, Tigers 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—With the Oakland Athletics out of the pennant race for the first time since 1998, there were no deadline deals made to bolster the roster.
It appears as if the A’s are prepared to ride out this injury-plagued season with the roster they have. That proved to be enough Tuesday night when Kurt Suzuki and Jack Cust each hit two-run singles in the sixth inning to back Dan Haren and help the A’s snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“You saw in this game what we are capable of,” said assistant general manager David Forst, who added that the team was “very active” in talks leading up to Tuesday’s non-waiver trading deadline. “The young guys got some hits, Danny pitched like he’s pitched, the bullpen was lined up and we were able to beat perhaps the best team in the game.”
But even a rare win to cap a 9-18 month isn’t enough to change Oakland’s fortunes. The A’s trail the Angels by 13 games in the AL West and Cleveland by 10 1/2 in the wild-card race—their biggest second-half deficit for a postseason spot since 1998.
“We are a good team,” Haren said. “We’re better than our record shows, that’s for sure. It’s hard right now. We’ve put ourselves in a hole that I don’t know if we can get out of.”
Haren (13-3) settled down after some early trouble to outpitch fellow All-Star Justin Verlander (11-4) to win his third straight start. He allowed three runs—two earned—and six hits in six innings to give the A’s their first win since the last time their ace pitched.
Oakland put at least one runner in scoring position in each of the first four innings but could only manage one run in the second inning on Travis Buck’s bases-loaded walk. The A’s then broke through in the sixth with help from an error by shortstop Carlos Guillen that allowed Mark Kotsay to reach base to open the inning.
Marco Scutaro followed with a single and both runners advanced on a flyout. They scored on Suzuki’s two-run single that tied the game at 3 and knocked out Verlander, who is winless in his last three starts.
“It was one of those nights where I didn’t have good control. I was in and out of trouble all night,” Verlander said. “Sometimes we’re like hitters and go through little streaks where everything isn’t quite right.”
Suzuki added an RBI single and Buck hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to make it 7-3.
The Tigers, who did not make a deal to bolster their playoff run before Tuesday’s non-waiver trading deadline, have lost five of six.
“I just didn’t like the body language,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It was like we were rushing to get the game over with.”
Detroit scored an unearned run in the first thanks to a three-base error by Cust in left field and added two more in the second on an RBI double by Sean Casey and a successful squeeze bunt by backup catcher Mike Rabelo. But that was all the Tigers could manage.
“This season I have gotten better as the game has gone along,” Haren said. “It’s kind of frustrating the amount of runs I’ve given up in the beginning of games. Often times I put the team in a hole and I’ve done that a lot this year. Most of the time this year we’ve been able to battle back and that was the case today.”
There was an odd play in the fifth inning. With Curtis Granderson on first and one out, Placido Polanco hit a grounder to third base. Scutaro threw to second to try to start a double play, but Mark Ellis pulled off the bag early to try to turn a double play. The relay to first was late and Granderson was called safe at second because Ellis was off the bag.
Granderson, thinking he was out, began running back to the Tigers’ dugout, before realizing his mistake and scampering back safely to second ahead of Swisher’s throw from first. Haren retired the next two batters to escape the inning.
Verlander allowed four runs—three earned—and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. … Guillen left the game in the eighth inning because of a sore left knee and is expected to return to the lineup Friday. … Polanco handled all five chances at 2B, extending his errorless streak to a major league record 651 chances. Luis Castillo had held the previous record of 647. … Tigers DH Gary Sheffield hit an infield single in the third inning for his 2,500th career hit.