Behind Tommy Milone, the Oakland A’s beat Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Thanks to some persistent and strong rain storms in the Detroit area, though, Bob Melvin and the A’s didn’t have to walk a tightrope en route to a thrilling win (as they did on Monday night).
Instead, Brandon Moss’ opposite field two-run homer in the top of the fifth proved to be the decisive blow, as the game was ultimately called in the top of the sixth.
The A’s made Verlander throw 44 pitches in the first inning – by far, his lengthiest first inning of his career. He walked Coco Crisp, gave up a single to Josh Donaldson, and a two-run double to Jed Lowrie before striking out Moss and Yoenis Cespedes, walking Seth Smith, and retiring Alberto Callaspo on a flyout. By then, the A’s were already up 2-0.
Milone gave the lead right back – Austin Jackson walked, Torii Hunter singled him to second, and Miguel Cabrera walked to load the bases with nobody out. Prince Fielder cracked a two-run single on a 3-2 pitch, tying the game at 2-2. After a Victor Martinez double play, Callaspo booted an easy Omar Infante grounder, allowing the Tigers to tack on a third run.
In the third, a two-out Moss walk and an RBI double from Cespedes re-tied the game at 3-3 – Verlander left a two-strike pitch to Cespedes in the middle of the plate and he clubbed it into the left-field corner for a big (and much-needed) hit.
Milone sailed through the third and fourth innings, setting the stage for the dramatics of the top of the fifth; Donaldson reached on an Infante error with one out. Lowrie hit into a force out, extending the inning for Moss – who lofted a big home run over the wall in left-center, a two-run shot that put the A’s up 5-3. This was particularly huge because the rain was falling hard at this point, and all the A’s had to do to get the game official was finisht eh bottom of the fifth.
Milone did just that – but rather than immediately put the game in ‘rain delay’ status, they forged ahead into the top of the sixth – when Seth Smith (stuck in a 40-game homerless drought) annihilated an offering from new pitcher Bruce Rondon deep into the Detroit night, extending Oakland’s lead to 6-3.
They then loaded the bases against Rondon, but that’s where the game was finally put into rain delay status. A while later, after the grounds crew rolled the tarp out, removed it, and put it back on the infield, the game was called on account of inclement weather.
As a result, the A’s improved their record to 74-57, and Milone was given the win over Verlander.
The Rangers also won on Tuesday night, so Oakland remains 2.5 games back in the West.
The A’s and Tigers will square away again tomorrow at 4:08 p.m. PDT, when Dan Straily (6-7, 4.56 ERA) takes on Doug Fister (11-6, 3.54).