DETROIT -- Alfredo Simon wasn't at his best Tuesday night, but he kept the A's off the board. The bullpen could not back him up, though, and neither could the sleepy offense. The Tigers went down quietly after the sixth inning and eventually lost 5-3 to the Oakland Athletics, dropping the series opener and giving Detroit a five-game losing streak.
Simon limited the A's to just four hits through 6 1/3 innings-pitched, but he also walked five and three hits came in the seventh. While he struck out six, Simon's final line reflected four earned runs after a lack of defense and command in the seventh. Three singles, a wild pitch and a fielder's choice that didn't result in an out later, and Simon's night was done. Angel Nesbitt, who replaced Simon, faced Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded and served up a grand slam just over the right field, giving the A's a 5-3 lead.
It was Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler, though, who made defensive miscues that kept the seventh going. While it wasn't the greatest throw by Jose Iglesias, most shortstops wouldn't have had a shot at making the out in the first place. Iglesias not only gloved a sharp ground ball between himself and third base, but he made an off-balanced one-hop throw to Castellanos.
All Castellanos had to do was catch the ball. Castellanos dropped it twice, and the leadoff runner was safe. Kinsler followed up with a sleeping mistake when, instead of throwing to first for a simple fielder's choice on an infield single, threw home, loading the bases. The result was the continuation of the inning, and eventually the grand slam that Nesbitt gave up.
As for the offense. Oh, the offense. It returned briefly, but so too, did poor baserunning decisions and, well, the bunt. The third, it was interesting. Anthony Gose bunted after James McCann bunted and the Tigers failed to score a run in that inning, as well as the sixth, despite back-to-back two-out hits. The Tigers did get a three-run lead in the fourth, but after the two hits in the sixth, they went meekly into the night. Returning home and a shakeup in the lineup did no good.
Nick Castellanos' bat: Drove in two runs with a single in the fourth, singled in the sixth, and walked in the third.
James McCann: Was the only Tiger with an extra-base hit, and one of three to finish with more than one hit. McCann singled and doubled, finishing 2-for-2 with a sac bunt in the third.
Yoenis Cespedes: Had a two-hit day, including the second of back-to-back hits in the fourth -- which led to the three runs that scored that inning.
Baserunning/bunting: Although this has been beaten into the ground so far it can't see daylight, the Tigers continue to do it. The third inning was no different, though it had special help from poor decisions for two hitters to bunt against a pitcher who had an ERA north of 6.00. The result? #TTBDNS and a TOOTBLAN. Of course.
Alfredo Simon: He went into the seventh, but he was lacking command and eventually paid for it. Despite the five strikeouts, the five walks were what drove his pitch count up and he was betrayed by his defense. With an offense and defense that has been sleeping, it was inefficiency the Tigers couldn't afford.
Angel Nesbitt: Served up the seventh-inning grand slam. Enough said.
Jose Iglesias' bat: The normally hot-hitting shortstop didn't just ground out. He grounded out 5-3. Every. Single. Time.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- The Tigers' one through three hitters were a combined 1-for-13 for the night.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: