The Oakland Athletics continued their domination of the Detroit Tigers, wining their third straight with a 14-2 blowout victory. The A's rocked Tigers' pitching for 21 hits, a four run fifth and three run sixth all but ending the game. The A's tacked on four runs in the eighth, because the Tigers were throwing batting practice.
The Tigers scored three late runs to make the score a tad more respectable. But thanks to brutal pitching, it was far too little, much too late for Detroit.
Post game, the Tigers announced lefty reliever Jose Alvarez was optioned to Triple-A Toledo, and are recalling right-handed reliever Luke Putkonen. Alvarez will return to the Tigers are the end of the Mud Hens' season.
A's starter Dan Straily (7-7) has been awful post All-Star break, 0-5 with a 5.20 ERA. Tonight, the Tigers made Straily look like an All-Star. He won his first game since July 9, holding the Tigers to one run and eight hits over six innings. Amazingly enough, thanks to pitching three full innings of relief (allowing three runs), Brett Anderson actually earned the save in the a double digit win.
In taking a well deserved loss, Doug Fister (11-7) was raked by the A's for seven runs on 13 hits in just five innings. Jose Alvarez was knocked around for five runs in just 2 1/3 innings in relief, Drew Smyly serving up the final two runs, unable to retire either batter he faced.
Where to start with the A's hitting stars? There were many, but Brandon Moss stood above them all with four hits, two home runs, six RBIs and three runs scored. Josh Donaldson had three hits and two RBIs, Jed Lowrie and Kurt Suzuki both with three hits and one run driven in.
As bad as Fister was tonight, he was just joining a parade of suck started by Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander. Tigers starting pitching in the three games has been uncharacteristically awful: Between Sanchez, Verlander and Fister, they combined for only 15 innings pitched, giving up 22 hits (13 for Fister alone), 16 runs, 14 earned, six walks and 11 strikeouts.
The A's opened the first inning by hitting the ball hard off Doug Fister. Coco Crisp led off with a fly to deep right center, where extra base hits go to die. Austin Jackson covered a ton of ground to make the catch on the warning track in front of the scoreboard. Josh Donalson hit the ball even further than Crisp, doubling over Jackson's head in dead center. After allowing s pair of fly balls which carried a good 800 feet combined, Jed Lowrie hit the ball a whole 90 feet, sending a soft looper to Miguel Cabrera for the second out. Fister proceeded to pitch out of trouble, the ball only traveling 60' 6" in a strikeout of Brandon Moss.
The game was scoreless after one inning. It wouldn't remain scoreless for long, the A's taking the first lead of the game for the third consecutive night.
Unable to keep his pitches down in the zone, Fister would allow back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles to open the second inning. Yoenis Cespedes led off by singling to center. Daric Barton and Alberto Callaspo also singled, loading the bases. Eric Sogard hit a soft liner past Omar Infante and into right, Cespedes scored as the bases remained loaded. Kurt Suzuki looped a single to center, Barton crossing the plate, the bases still full. Five consecutive singles had given the A's a 2-0 lead.
Fister would get out of the inning on three straight fly balls, but the second was a sacrifice fly off the bat of Donaldson. After 1 1/2, the A's held a 3-0 advantage.
The problem was Fister just could not keep his pitches down and had yet to allow a ground ball.
Doug Fister entered tonight with MLB's 4th-highest groundball/flyball ratio (2.39). No grounders through 12 batters so far. A's up 3-0.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 28, 2013
The Tigers had two hits and a walk in the bottom of the second, but couldn't score. More than it being one of those games, it was becoming one of those series.
Victor Martinez continued his trek toward .300 with a lead off single. But Andy Dirks emptied the bases by bouncing into an easy 4-6-3 double play. Of course, Omar Infante and Alex Avila would come through with back-to-back singles. Extending the inning did little good, Jose Iglesias would strand the runners by weakly bouncing out to third.
What made the inning more frustrating is A's pitcher Dan Straily has been awful over the second half of the season. Straily is a pitcher the Tigers should knock around.
The tall man who had been struggling on the mound actually started to resemble noted Detroit Tiger pitcher Doug Fister in the third. After Moss lead off with a single, a pair of ground balls quickly ended the inning. Cespedes bounced into a fielder's choice, Barton following with an inning ending 4-6-3 twin killing.
One out in the bottom half of the third, the Tigers finally got to Straily when Torii Hunter's line drive to left cleared the bullpen. Hunter's solo shot was his 15th home run of the season, pulling the Tigers within two at 3-1 (MLB.com video).
Then Straily got lucky.
Cabrera hit a ball as hard as humanly possible to right, but didn't get under hit, the ball hitting halfway up the wall. Instead of a home run, or even extra bases, Cabrera had to settle for a single. Fielder made a bid, but hit the ball to the wrong part of Comerica. Crisp was able to make the catch out by the flag pole in deep left center. The Tigers had hit three balls home run distance, had one run and an out to show for it.
Martinez advanced Cabrera to second with a single to center. But Dirks continued to kill off a rally before it could get started for the second straight at bat, sending a can of corn to center, ending the inning. The Tigers had seven hits off Straily, but only one run to show for it.
Top of four, Fister had his first 1-2-3 inning. Meanwhile, Straily remained lucky. Infante led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk. Avila smoked a line shot down the first base line ... and right into the glove of Barton, who just needed to step on the bag to complete a double play.
WHAT? A STOLEN BASE? FROM A TIGER? Yes, it's true.
Two down, Iglesias worked a nine pitch base on balls. The rookie swiped second, advancing to third when Suzuki's throw sailed into center field. Fun as it was to watch, it didn't lead to anything. Jackson struck out on a full count breaking ball which would have been ball four, inning over.
Through four innings, Straily had given up seven hits and two walks, but only one run.
Now auditioning for the part of Harry Houdini, Dan Straily.— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) August 29, 2013
Fister immediately got himself in another jam to start the fifth, putting the Tigers behind the 8-ball. Donaldson singled with one out, taking third on Lowrie's single. Moss lifted a fly ball to dead center, Jackson got there, but the ball glanced off his glove at the warning track. Moss was credited with a double, Donaldson scored, Lowrie stopping at third. Cespedes lined a single to left, Lowrie scoring to increase the A's lead to 5-1.
After two were out, make it 6-1 when Callaspo smoked a one-hopper past a diving Infate to plate Moss. Fister now on the ropes, Sogard singled to center, Cespedes scored the A's fourth run of the inning. Callaspo ran into the final out, Jackson throwing him out trying to take third on Sopgard's single. At least the outfield assist saved Fister from the embarrassment of being pulled from a 7-1 game.
Hunter led off the bottom half of the fifth with a ground rule double to right, leaving him a triple short of the cycle. Let's hope someone informed Tom Brookens of it this time around. Hunter would be left standing on second, Straily not needing luck in mowing down the middle of the order, striking out Cabrera and Fielder, Martinez flying out to left.
Top of six and the Tigers down six runs, Fister's night was mercifully over as Jose Alvarez took over on the mound. The A's had gotten into the Tigers' weak middle relief for a third straight game.
For the second consecutive appearance, Alvarez proved to be a solution to what ails the opposition.
Suzuki singled to shallow right, taking second on a passed ball. Two out and Suzuki on third, the inning spun into the turf like a Delmon Young throw. Lowrie doubled into the right field corner, Suzuki scoring to make it 8-1 A's. A dagger already long stuck in the Tigers' back, Moss gave it a vigorous twist with a long home run to right center.
The Tigers being blown out 10-1, Alvarez finally ended the inning, leaving the field to chorus of boos.
hmm maybe it wasn't just verlander— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 29, 2013
godadamnit JV! oh...— Rational Tigers Fan (@Rational_Tigers) August 29, 2013
So, I don't think I'm going out on a limb here when I say #Tigers need a left-handed reliever. Sooner, rather than later.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) August 29, 2013
After the Tigers went down in order in the sixth, nine runs down Jim Leyland waved the white flag. Don Kelly replaced Cabrera, Matt Tuiasosopo taking over for Fielder. Alvarez remained on the mound as a sacrificial arm
Game over? Game over.
The only drama left was if Hunter would get a triple to complete the cycle. He struck out to end the seventh.
At this point the Tigers' bats had long decided to pack it in, nine straight going down in order after Hunter's double to lead off the fifth.
The A's increased their lead to ten runs in the eighth. Suzuki doubled, scoring on Donaldson's one out single off the right field fence.
Of course, Leyland had Drew Smyly warming up as Alvarez was getting drilled. Of all the other times he could have used him over the past four days and didn't, Leyland finally decides use Smyly as a mop up man in a blow out. What the Hell? (throws hands up in disgust, walks away from the computer)
After Lowrie doubled, Moss made it 14-1 with a three run bomb to deep, deep right off Smyly. Hunter just stood and watched it sail off into the night.Moss was having a huge night, two home runs and six RBIs.
Leyland quickly pulled Smyly, replacing him with who should have started the inning in the first place, Jeremy Bonderman. He would end the inning without incident.
The Tigers tacked on garbage time runs in the eighth off Brett Anderson. Three straight singles by Tuiasosopo, Martinez and Dirks made it 14-2. Avila drove in two more with a double short center, a humpback liner under the glove of Chris Young to make it a 14-4 game.
Anderson would end up pitching the final three innings for the A's, closing out the ninth in 1-2-3 fashion.
A horrific game finally over.
Your final score is A's 14, Tigers 4. Time for Max Scherzer to be the stopper tomorrow afternoon.
Despite all the doom and gloom, there was good news. The Indians refuse to walk through the opening the Tigers have given them, losing their second straight game to the Braves, dropping a 3-2 decision. That loss means the Tigers remain 5 1/2 games up in the Central with a 77-56 record. At .579, they now have the third best record in the AL.
The four game series comes to an end Thursday afternoon, the A's sending veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.97 ERA) mound to face leading Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer (19-1, 2.73 ERA). Suffering from a left groin strain, Colon was just activated off the 15-day DL for Thursday's start. Colon leads the majors with three shutouts, logging quality starts in 19 of 24 starts. Scherzer shut out the Mets over six innings in a win Saturday, and hasn't allowed more than three runs in a game since July 13. Being it's getaway day for the A's, first pitch will be 1:08 PM.
WIN LOSS PROBABILITY GRAPH:
BULLETS IN THE FOOT:
Your Miguel Cabrera milestone of the day:
Miguel Cabrera: reached base safely in 31 straight games, longest active streak in MLB. He's reached base in 96 pct of his games in 2013— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 29, 2013
Phil Coke now a Mud Hen, it's Andy Dirks who has become the fan and media punching bag.
#Tigers Andy Dirks late on two mediocre fastballs, then hits into double play. Wow.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) August 28, 2013
Dirks' double-play ball the only thing separating the Tigers from about 10 runs through 2 2/3 innings.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) August 29, 2013
There's the Andy Dirks we all know and hate.— Matthew (@SportsMichigan) August 28, 2013
God I can't stand Andy dirks.— Mike Tanzini (@mtaz23) August 29, 2013
And everyone promptly turns on Andy Dirks after keeping a lid on the hate for a few hot weeks.— Alexandrwuaooooo (@catswithbats) August 28, 2013
Meanwhile, in the Tigers' radio booth after back-to-back strikeouts of Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the fifth:
Haha...Dan just had a heavy sigh into the mic. #Tigers— Katie G. (@katieg1975) August 29, 2013
When was the last time Tigers' starting pitching was this bad over three games? June 23, 25 and 26 against the Red Sox and Angels. Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Jose Alvarez combined to allow 15 runs in 15 innings, along with 24 hits, six walks, striking out nine.
Late in the game, even as Comerica was quickly emptying out, there was one hardy soul who wouldn't give up on the Tigers' chances.
lone kid chanting "let's go Tigers" we salute you— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 29, 2013
THREE DID OK:
Torii Hunter: Three hits, a triple short of the cycle for the second time this season.
Victor Martinez: He's a hit machine at the plate. Martinez is hitting .294 after a 3-for-4 night.
Jeremy Bonderman: The only pitcher to have a respectable night, Bondo held the A's scoreless over the final 1 2/3 innings.
ALSO DID OK:
Alex Avila: Two hits and two RBIs, putting all concussion worries aside.
THREE HUGE HISSES:
Doug Fister: Fister was brutal tonight, but bad games happen to good pitchers. It's just that his timing was awful, coming after bad performances from Sanchez and Verlander.
Jose Alvarez: Just as brutal. I'm sure Dave Dombrowski is scavenging all of baseball for a lefty. I hope so, anyway.
Drew Smyly: I'd give up a long ass home run too if I sat since last Friday while less talented pitchers were pitching in higher leverage situations.
BONUS HUGE HISSES:
Tigers' starting pitching: Just God awful against the A's. You don't expect it to happen in three straight games to a team so damn deep in starting pitching.
Jim Leyland: His bullpen management absolutely baffles me. Using Drew Smyly as a blowout mop up man after sitting on the bench for four games is beyond ridiculous.
DESERVE MEDALS FOR SITTING THRU A BLOWOUT:
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In what was a miserable night for the Tigers, "No one was deserving" took the honors with 59% of the vote.