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Gio Urshela’s eighth-inning double gives the Tigers a 5-4 win over the Athletics in home opener

DETROIT (AP) — Gio Urshela’s two-out double in the eighth inning brought in the go-ahead run and the Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-4 in their home opener on Friday.

Matt Vierling and Mark Canha hit solo homers for Detroit. Spencer Torkelson doubled twice, scored two runs and drove in another for the Tigers, who are off to a 6-1 start.

Detroit Tigers play first home game of the year

Detroit has won three regulation games by one run apiece. Its three other victories have come in extra innings.

“It builds self belief that we are gritty and we can win, no matter what,” Torkelson said. “Obviously, we’d like it to be 10-1 but sometimes it’s going to be 4-3, 5-4. Whatever it is, we believe we can win.”

Detroit starter Tarik Skubal gave up four runs and struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings. Jason Foley (2-0) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief and Alex Lange got the last out to record his first save.

Brent Rooker and Abraham Toro homered for the A’s, who have lost seven of eight to open their final season in Oakland.

After Oakland tied the game at 4-all with two runs in the seventh, Urshela delivered his decisive double off Lucas Erceg (0-1) to bring in Torkelson, who led off with a double.

Detroit took the lead against Oakland starter JP Sears with a three-run fourth. Vierling led off with his first homer of the season. Torkelson’s RBI double brought in Andy Ibanez and Torkelson scored on a Riley Greene’s single.

Skubal only allowed two baserunners in the first five innings. Oakland then pulled within 3-2 in the sixth on Rooker’s two-out, two-run blast.

“He was really in the zone the first five innings,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said of Skubal. “His changeup was really effective. In the sixth, he started to lose a little bit of command and then we took advantage of the mistake in the zone.”

Canha gave Detroit some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth with his 414-foot blast over the left field wall.

“For us to be our best, we’re going to need a variety of guys,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of his offense. “We’re not just waiting for one guy to get up.”

The A’s tied it at 4-all in the seventh on Toro’s homer and Nick Allen’s RBI grounder.

“When you’ve got to throw heaters when you’re getting behind (in the count) a lot, that’s something I don’t like doing,” Skubal said.

The sellout crowd of 44,711 was nearly as much as Oakland drew for its seven-game homestand (45,086).

The Athletics announced on Thursday they will be playing at least the next three seasons in Sacramento, California before moving to a new stadium in Las Vegas. The franchise has played in Oakland since 1968.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start Saturday’s game. Blackburn pitched seven scoreless innings against Cleveland in his season debut on Sunday.

Tigers: RHP Kenta Maeda (0-0, 16.20 ERA) will start for the Tigers on Saturday. In his Detroit debut, he allowed three home runs to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

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