The Detroit Tigers rode into Oakland following a three game sweep of the Houston Astros with Tarik Skubal going up against the A’s Sean Manaea. The game started out as a pitchers’ affair, with Skubal allowing just two runs, one of them earned, and just two hits while striking out five hitters. Once Skubal left with the Tigers trailing by a 2- 1 score after four innings, the game was all downhill from there.
Steven Piscotty led off the third inning with a home run down the right field line for the only earned run that the A’s would plate against the Tigers’ starter. The Tigers evened the score on a single by Jeimer Candelario and an RBI double by Willi Castro in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 1 - 1.
In the bottom half of the fourth, Skubal walked Matt Olson, then Candelario made a nice grab on a ball down the third base line off the bat of Sean Murphy, who was batting .000 for the season, but air mailed the throw, leaving runners on second and third. Elvis Andrus then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Olson and putting the A’s up by a score of 2-1. Skubal would be done after 88 pitches through four innings.
Buck Farmer came on in relief for the Tigers in the fifth inning. After striking out the first two batters, Olson homered to right center field, putting Oakland up 3-1. Niko Goodrum homered to lead off the sixth frame for the Tigers to pull the score to 3- 2, but that’s as close as the Tigers would get.
Joe Jimenez was called in for the Tigers in the sixth inning. He gave up three walks around one strikeout, demonstrating just why he was optioned, and leaving the game with the bases loaded and one out.
Alex Lange came on in relief of Jimenez and promptly walked in a run, then gave up a two RBI double to Matt Chapman to put the Tigers in a 6- 2 hole and then walked Olson before giving way with the bases loaded to Tyler Alexander.
Alexander walked Murphy to make it 7- 2, but then retired the next two batters to end the carnage. The A’s topped off the scoring in the seventh with three singles off Alexander.
The Tigers plated a pair of runs in the top of the ninth when Renato Nunez doubled, Willi Castro tripled, and Jonathan Schoop hit a sac fly, to pull Detroit to within 8- 4.
Niko Goodrum played left field for the Tigers, going 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Ronnie Grossman served as the designated hitter with both Miguel Cabrera and Nomar Mazara on the injured list.
Tarik Skubal pitched four innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits while striking out five hitters.
The two teams square off three more times over the weekend.