Tigers win on Hunter's blast

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander may not be having his accustomed success on the mound but as a prophet he's doing real fine.

Verlander touted to Torii Hunter that he was going to hit the game-winning home run Thursday.

The Detroit right fielder followed through on the vision with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 7-6 victory over Oakland and thwart what seemed to be an almost certain four-game sweep by the Athletics.

"When I got into the game in the seventh inning JV told me I was going to hit a walk-off home run," Hunter said after his 16th home run of the season and fourth walk-off home run of his career. "He planted the seed. And it grew."

Austin Jackson walked to lead off the ninth inning off Grant Balfour (0-3) and Prince Fielder walked with two outs. Victor Martinez lined an RBI single to center field and Hunter lined a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center to cap a Detroit comeback from a 6-1 deficit.

"I knew in the bullpen I didn't have good stuff," Balfour said. "I just tried to power through it."

"I faced him a lot when I was on the West Coast (with the Los Angeles Angels)," Hunter said, "so I had an idea of what he was going to try to do. He likes to try to get me to chase that slider away.

"I was looking for a fastball but I saw the spin on the ball and made an adjustment. I hit that thing hard."

Joaquin Benoit (4-0) allowed two hits in the top of the ninth but didn't allow a run to get the win. He got Brandon Moss, who hit his fourth home run in the last three games in the fifth, to fly out to left to end the inning.

Miguel Cabrera had to leave the game after five innings with what the club described as "discomfort in his abdomen" when he tried to limp out what normally would have been an easy double into right center in the fifth. He is listed as day-to-day.

Cabrera was an easy third out at second, hobbled off the field holding his stomach in the left hip area and was taken out of the game.

Fielder helped Detroit get back in range when he led off the sixth with his 21st home run. Ramon Santiago added an RBI single in the same inning and suddenly a 6-1 deficit was a more manageable 6-3. Brayan Pena's sacrifice fly in the fourth came after Oakland had piled up a 4-0 lead.

Moss hit his 25th home run, his seventh in 10 games, one out after Josh Donaldson tripled off Max Scherzer to lead off the fifth and gave the A's their 6-1 lead. He was 7-for-14 in the series with four home runs and 10 RBI.

Scherzer sought his 20th victory but almost came away with his second defeat after giving up eight hits in five innings, including two home runs, a triple and three doubles. The six runs scored off him were the most he's allowed this year, although one was unearned.

"Torii bailed me out," said Scherzer. "They forced me into a lot of bad situations so you've got to give them credit."

Bartolo Colon started for Oakland and went five innings after being activated off the disabled list earlier in the day. He threw 73 pitches, giving up seven hits with at least one per inning.

"He was going to throw 80 pitches and not any more," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "When he came out, he had done his job. He was starting to get some (pitches) up anyway."

Jed Lowrie hit a two-run home run for Oakland three batters into the game and the A's got two more in the fourth on consecutive sacrifice flies by Daric Barton and Eric Sogard.

NOTES: Detroit manager Jim Leyland isn't announcing his callups when rosters expand Sept. 1. "They're going to be spaced out," he said, meaning some players will be brought up earlier than others. ... RHP Evan Scribner, who did not pitch after being called up Monday, was returned to the minors Thursday when Colon was activated to start against Detroit. ... Tigers DH Victor Martinez finished the game hitting .297 after going 3-for-5. He was hitting just .225 since June 28. ... A's DH Lowrie's first-inning home run gave him an 11-game hitting streak, the longest of his career.
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