By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – Without his best stuff, the Tigers managed to find their offense behind three home runs and an average day on the mound for Justin Verlander. He gave up one run on three hits, walked three and struck out six through six frames. Detroit tied the series with a 7-3 win over A’s and ended Oakland’s winning streak at nine.
“He did what he normally does,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin.
Despite struggling though a few innings, Verlander pitched a solid game. It was the Tigers offense that went deep to secure the victory. Jhonny Peralta hit a three run homer in the fourth inning. Both Torii Hunter and Prince fielder also hit homers.
“I never really got into a rhythm,” Brett Anderson said. “Solo home runs don’t usually beat you, and the three-run shot hurt. I made mistakes.”
Hunter’s home run went almost 600 feet while Fielder went 6-for-8 with four RBI’s and a pair of walks in the first two games of the series. Two of the A’s best players (Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cepedes) were watching from the dugout as Oakland managed only three runs against a tough defense.
Derek Norris had two hits and drove in one run and Josh Donaldson who is “hot” had two hits, his fifth consecutive multi-hit game. Norris gave the A’s a 1-0 lead when he hit an RBI single to left field that was deflected off Miguel Cabrera’s glove. That was the only run scored off Justin.
“He’s locked in pretty good,” said Detroit’s manager Jim Leyland. “Probably the best I’ve ever seen him.”
The sellout crowd at O.Co Coliseum lined up early for the free American League West Division Champions blankets handed out before the game. The fans also remembered Verlander at his best when he shutout Oakland in the fifth and final game of the playoffs. Today was definitely not his best game.
“Obviously, I would have liked to go longer than six [innings],” Justin said. “Not executing on some pitches caused me to throw more than I had to.”
Chris Young drove in two runs but that wasn’t enough to rally back. Anderson allowed seven runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings and the bullpen could not contain the Tigers surging offense. After Brandon Moss was called out on strikes, Melvin was tossed by umpire Andy Fletcher in the eighth for arguing the call. The days challenges were not expected but that’s baseball.
“It was kind of brewing as the game went on,” said Melvin. “We got beat today, but we get frustrated at times too.”