OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—The Tigers can’t afford to collapse the way they did Sunday. The defending AL champions need a big September to guarantee another October run.
Detroit led the rubber game with Oakland 7-0 before blowing a chance to gain a game on first-place Cleveland in the AL Central race, when the Athletics’ Jack Hannahan blooped a game-winning single to shallow left in the 10th inning of an 8-7 victory over the Tigers.
“A loss like this hurts in April, May, June, July, August or September,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s significant that we had a chance to pick up a game in the division and the wild-card race and we let it get away. We can’t do that. We had a nice lead. We couldn’t get nine outs with a five-run lead.”
Huston Street (4-2) pitched a perfect 10th with two strikeouts for the win in the A’s fourth extra-inning contest in their last six games. They have won three of those, and Hannahan had his second game-winning hit of the homestand.
The Tigers seemed poised to pull within 4 1/2 games of the first-place Indians after the Chicago White Sox won 8-0 in Cleveland to avoid a weekend sweep, but Kurt Suzuki hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth for the A’s off Todd Jones. That leaves Detroit 5 1/2 back.
“We should have won the game,” Jones said. “It’s weird, but I didn’t think it was gone at all. He got it, man. I didn’t have a lot of sink today. This was a pretty important (one) today. We had to have this one because everybody lost. It’s frustrating when I go out there and don’t do my job.”
Yorman Bazardo (0-1) plunked Ellis in the lower back to start the 10th, then Hannahan followed with his single against his former team that landed fair just beyond the infield dirt behind third and bounced into foul territory.
Shannon Stewart followed Suzuki’s sixth homer with a single and Nick Swisher walked before both advanced on a wild pitch. Jones intentionally walked Jack Cust to load the bases, then Mike Piazza grounded into a double play that started with shortstop Ramon Santiago throwing to catcher Ivan Rodriguez to get out Stewart at home.
Suzuki, a rookie catcher, is getting himself recognized.
“It’s great coming off a guy like Todd Jones, who’s one of the best in the game and has been doing it a long time,” Suzuki said.
Robertson took a perfect game into the fifth and received early run support. Marcus Thames hit a two-run double in the first and doubled in another run in his team’s five-run fifth. Ryan Raburn also added an RBI double in the fifth and Santiago doubled twice, tripled and drove in two runs in the No. 9 hole.
Robertson retired the first 13 A’s batters—and did so efficiently, too: He needed only seven pitches to get through the first and his count was at 43 after four. He got a lot of swings and misses and weakly hit balls with his slider, which was an effective out pitch all day.
Dan Johnson broke up Robertson’s bid with a sharp single to right with one out in the fifth, then Ellis followed with a base hit before Hannahan’s double off the wall in right-center scored them both. Suzuki drove in two runs on a seventh-inning single up the middle off Fernando Rodney, then Swisher followed with an RBI single and Tim Byrdak relieved.
Robertson allowed two runs and four hits, struck out five and walked one in six innings, but hasn’t won since a victory over Oakland on Aug. 12. Verlander pitched Detroit to a 6-1 victory Saturday.
Joel Zumaya got the final out of the seventh and pitched a perfect eighth before Jones blew his sixth save of the year.
Leyland rested a few of his regulars for part of the game.
Infielder Carlos Guillen, Rodriguez and center fielder Curtis Granderson got the day off from starting but played later. Magglio Ordonez was designated hitter for the second straight day, giving him a chance to take some pressure off his sore left heel.
The Tigers have something to look forward to this week: Kenny Rogers is returning to the rotation for the stretch run.
Rogers is scheduled to start Wednesday against the White Sox at Comerica Park, which will be the left-hander’s first outing since July 25. Rogers went on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season the following day with inflammation in his left elbow.
“I think any time you get a guy like that back, it’s certainly good for morale,” Leyland said.
The Tigers got to left-hander Dallas Braden in a hurry again. Braden, the A’s lone September callup Saturday, has lost seven straight decisions since winning his first major league start April 24 at Baltimore.
“I tell you what, I didn’t give up seven home runs to one guy in one inning this time, and I got a taste of what the third inning’s like,” Braden said.
Braden was tagged for six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings—another short outing for the lefty against the Tigers. He lost at Detroit’s Comerica Park in his previous big league start Aug. 12, going only 1 2-3 innings after giving up eight runs on seven hits with two home runs.
Braden had pitched back-to-back complete games in his last two outings for Triple-A Sacramento, including a 17-strikeout performance Aug. 27 against Colorado Springs.
The A’s won the season series 6-4. … A’s SS Bobby Crosby is no longer wearing a cast on his broken left hand and will join the team Monday in Anaheim.