DETROIT - Don't talk wild card or division title to Bob Melvin.
"All I'm trying to do is win as many games as I can," the Oakland manager said Thursday afternoon after his A's came back to drub Detroit 12-4 to break a two-game slide by winning the final game of the series.
Oakland has made a living off other teams' mistakes this year, while Detroit has spent the season trying to overcome its defensive deficiencies.
"Any time you get down, and someone gets that first run, it's big," Melvin said.
The A's rang up four in the sixth to take control of the game, 6-3, thanks to a rookie mistake plus a knuckling line drive that got by a normally reliable veteran.
The A's entered the day second in the AL West, four behind Texas, and second in the AL wild card standings, a half-game back of Baltimore and 3 1/2 games up on the Los Angeles Angels.
"Even if we got beat," Melvin said, "I don't think we would push the panic button. When the Angels swept us a couple weeks ago, we came right back. Then we kind of returned the favor when we played them again."
The game began to swing Oakland's way when Yoenis Cespedes lined a one-out single over short in the sixth. Brandon Moss rifled a ball that bounced off the right field wall after one hop, and rookie Avisail Garcia showed off his strong arm - except there was nobody where he threw it.
The ball trickled through the middle of the infield as Cespedes scored to make it 3-3, and Moss, credited with a double, moved up to third. After a two-out intentional walk to Seth Smith, Josh Donaldson lined a 2-1 fastball over short to give the A's a 4-3 edge.
George Kottaras greeted Phil Coke, who relieved starter Anibal Sanchez, with a liner to center that Austin Jackson said "kind of knuckled on me. It took a left turn on me." It got past Jackson and went all the way to the center field wall for a two-run triple.
Smith hit his 14th home run to lead off the fifth, and Oakland took advantage of a bad Omar Infante throw to first on a potential double play ball with runners at first and third to score an unearned run in the third.
The A's wrapped it up in the ninth with a six-run frame highlighted by Smith's three-run double, an RBI double by Donaldson, a Cespedes sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk to Daric Barton.
Singles by Jhonny Peralta and Garcia started the second for Detroit. They were bunted up a base and scored on an RBI single by Gerald Laird and a sacrifice fly by Jackson. Prince Fielder had an RBI double in the fifth to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead and Andy Dirks cranked a 3-2 fastball into the right-field seats to shave one run off Oakland's lead, making it 6-4, in the sixth.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone fell one out shy of benefiting from the A's four-run sixth. Instead Pat Neshek (2-1) picked up a win for throwing two pitches.
"He did not have great stuff, yet he battled again," Melvin said of his starter.
After Neshek, the A's used relievers Jerry Blevins, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Evan Scribner.
NOTES" Left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson's season is over, at least for the regular season. Anderson exited Wednesday night's start after 2 1/3 innings with a right oblique strain and manager Bob Melvin said Thursday "he is not going to pitch the rest of the (regular) season. He has a Grade II strain. We've been pretty consistent in being able to match up, whether it's lineups or pitchers. We do have some pitching depth." ... Center fielder Coco Crisp, whose return to the lineup Tuesday was aborted by a recurrence of an eye infection, could return to the lineup Friday, "and that's being optimistic," Melvin said. ... Cespedes has been nursing a bone bruise in his foot. He played center field with it Wednesday night but Melvin said, "You could see it getting worse as the game went on. It's day-to-day whether he can play the outfield. He's had it for several days."