Gonzalez wins 14th, A’s beat Tigers
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Tigers manager Jim Leyland leaned back in his chair, a plate of food nearby and a half-smoked cigar resting on his desk.
A day after Detroit clinched its first division title in nearly a quarter-century and celebrated well into the night, Leyland was looking forward to taking a much-needed break.
Sure, there’s still the matter of trying to chase down the Yankees for home-field advantage in the American League, but that will have to wait for now.
Not even losing to the Oakland Athletics for the second time in three days was enough to rile the Tigers’ veteran skipper.
“I’m tired,” Leyland said following Detroit’s 5-3 loss to the A’s on Saturday.
“It was an emotional day. I’m glad we had a day game today so we can get some rest tonight.”
The problem, according to Ordonez, wasn’t lingering effects from Friday’s celebration. It was Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez(notes), who handcuffed the Tigers on one run over seven innings while getting his 14th win of the season.
“We came out here ready to play but Gio pitched a good game,” Ordonez said. “It had nothing to do with last night. We’re all professionals.”
Coco Crisp(notes) drove in the deciding run with an RBI single over the head of shortstop Jhonny Peralta(notes) in the second inning, Josh Willingham(notes) singled twice and scored and Oakland turned three double plays in the first five innings to win for only the second time in five games.
Detroit had at least two runners on base in five innings, but came up short against Oakland’s All-Star lefty.
Gonzalez, with some help from Oakland’s error-prone defense, limited the damage to beat the Tigers for the first time in five career starts. He did it despite twisting his ankle trying to make a pickoff throw to second base in the first inning.
After Ordonez and Raburn hit back-to-back one-out singles, Gonzalez (14-12) tried to catch Ordonez straying off second base. He turned to throw, but slipped on the mound and appeared to roll his left ankle.
Gonzalez walked around behind the mound to test his foot, threw one warmup pitch then returned to the mound. He got out of the inning when Miguel Cabrera(notes) flew out to right fielder David De Jesus, who doubled up Ordonez at second.
“It was a good win, a good step in the right direction for us,” Gonzalez said. “They were swinging the bats, being aggressive so we tried to take advantage of that. I was fortunate enough to have a few balls hit right at people.”
Gonzalez pitched out of jams with two runners on in the third and fourth before Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Peralta hit a sacrifice fly to score Ordonez, but that was all the Tigers could get.
“We couldn’t get the big hit today,” Leyland said. “We just didn’t do enough. Those add-on runs (by Oakland) killed us.”
No one could blame the Tigers for being a little off after toasting their AL Central title with a champagne-and-cigar celebration in the tiny visitor’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum. It’s Detroit’s first division title since 1987.
Right-hander Rick Porcello(notes) took the loss, allowing three runs over seven innings. Porcello (14-9) struck out four and walked three but was denied in his first attempt to become the second-youngest player in franchise history to reach 39 career wins before his 23rd birthday.
Gonzalez struck out four and walked two while winning for the fifth time in his past six starts. Ten of his 14 wins this season have come at the Oakland Coliseum.
Raburn went 2 for 4 while Victor Martinez singled twice to raise his batting average this month to .349.
Oakland loaded the bases against Porcello with no outs the following inning, but Detroit’s right-hander allowed only a sacrifice fly to Kurt Suzuki(notes) then got Sizemore to ground out to end the inning.
Weeks finished 3 for 5 while Crisp and Sizemore added two hits apiece.
Notes: Porcello is winless in five career starts at the Oakland Coliseum. … A’s OF Ryan Sweeney(notes), sidelined by a sore quad, rode a stationary bicycle before the game to test his leg. … Injured Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden(notes), out since undergoing season-ending surgery on his pitching shoulder, was in the team’s clubhouse before the game and will accompany Oakland on its final road trip beginning Friday in Anaheim. … The A’s recalled RHP Graham Godfrey(notes) and 1B Chris Carter from Triple-A Sacramento before the game. … Justin Verlander(notes) goes for his major league-leading 24th win in the series finale Sunday. Verlander (23-5) has only two wins in seven career starts in Oakland. … RHP Guillermo Moscoso(notes) (8-8) is on a two-game winning streak, the longest of his career, and will go for Oakland in the finale.