Tigers-Athletics Preview


The Oakland Athletics are off to their best start in more than two decades, but to keep rolling they made need Bartolo Colon to solve his woes against the Detroit Tigers.

It's been almost a decade to the day since Colon last beat the Tigers, a string of 12 generally ugly performances he'll hope to snap as he tries to lead Oakland to a ninth straight win in Friday night's rematch of last year's division series.

After a perfect six-game road trip, Oakland is 8-2 for the first time since 1992 and a high-powered offense has led the way. After registering one run and six hits in their first two games, the A's have outscored opponents 65-24 and totaled 97 hits in their last eight.

Each member of the starting lineup recorded a hit and Seth Smith had a team-high four on Thursday as Oakland completed a three-game sweep of division rival Los Angeles with an 8-1 victory.

"It's always great to get off to a good start, but you have to maintain it because it's a long season," manager Bob Melvin said. "If this was in the middle of the season and we had a run like this and they had a poor period, I don't think it would be significant. Those guys will go on a stretch where they play real well."

Colon will try to keep his club's streak going by building on a winning season debut. The right-hander gave up three runs over six innings in Saturday's 6-3 victory over Houston, his first appearance since his 50-game drug suspension.

Colon, though, could have a challenge earning another win Friday. He's 0-7 with a 7.67 ERA in 12 games - 11 starts - against Detroit since last beating the Tigers on April 13, 2003, with the White Sox.

Colon was tagged for eight runs in just 2 1-3 innings in his only matchup in 2012, a 10-6 home loss May 10.

After dropping two of three in Minnesota to open the season, Detroit went 4-2 on its first homestand. The Tigers (5-4) had 16 hits in the finale of that stay, an 11-1 rout of Toronto on Thursday, and have totaled 42 over their last three games.

Torii Hunter drove in three runs while boosting his average to .405 on Thursday, and reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera registered his 11th RBI with his first triple in nearly three years.

"That's impressive," said Austin Jackson, the AL leader in triples in each of the last two seasons. "That's just another thing that makes you look up and say 'Wow, (Cabrera), he can do it all.'"

In the opener of a nine-game West Coast trip, the Tigers will send out Max Scherzer. The right-hander gave up one run and struck out seven in the first five innings of Saturday's season debut against the New York Yankees before running into trouble in the sixth.

Scherzer was charged with all three runs in that frame but got credit for an 8-4 victory. He'll try to earn another while denying Oakland its best start since 1990.

Scherzer was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three matchups with the A's last season, including Game 4 of the division series. Oakland won that one after taking advantage of Jose Valverde in a wild 9th inning, but lost 6-0 in Game 5.

This time, the A's will try to match their season-high nine-game win streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 2.

While Cabrera hit .388 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 12 games against the A's last season, Prince Fielder hit just .125.

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