After walking and hitting Detroit's first two batters and giving up a two-run single, Gaudin retired 10 straight -- five on strikeouts -- while blocking out here-we-go-again thoughts.
"You either say that, or you take a step back and clear your head and say that's all they're getting tonight," Gaudin said.
Gaudin (9-8) gave up two runs, four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings, winning for the first time since July 5.
"It was good for me and good for the team," said Gaudin, who was 0-5 with a 8.54 ERA in six starts following the All-Star break.
The A's, who have seven players on the disabled list, have won eight of the last 13.
"The guys keep battling through the injuries," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "I couldn't be more proud."
The Tigers won the two previous games and had a chance to win a series for the first time since sweeping Minnesota from July 17-19. Since then, they are 8-17.
"If anybody thinks we're going to win anything playing and pitching like this, they're out of their minds," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm not negative. I'm one of the most positive people in the world. But if we don't play and pitch better, we ain't going to win."
The latest loss dropped Detroit into a first-place tie in the AL Central with idle Cleveland the day before traveling to play the Indians in a two-game series.
Leyland tried to downplay the upcoming matchups on the road against the Indians and New York Yankees.
"At some point, they all get crucial - but we're not to that point yet," he said.
Detroit's Placido Polanco set a major league record for second baseman by playing his 144th straight game without an error, breaking the mark set by Luis Castillo earlier this year while playing for Minnesota.
"Of course it means a lot," Polanco said. "This game has been around for a long time and nobody ever did it before."
Ellis hit his 16th homer, tying an A's single-season record for second basemen, joining Davey Lopes (1983) and Jimmy Dykes (1921).
Chad Durbin (7-5) gave up six runs -- five earned -- six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
"Durbin's control wasn't good and he hung a couple of breaking balls," Leyland said.
Reliever Jason Grilli, who was booed as he sprinted from the bullpen and when he was replaced, followed Durbin and allowed a run, three hits and two walks over 1 1/3 innings.
Shannon Stewart led off the game with a single and scored on Ellis' homer.
A night after hitting two homers in the second inning, Magglio Ordonez tied the game with a two-run single in the first, matching the 104 RBIs he had last season and his .356 average leads the majors.
"The guy is seeing beach balls," Gaudin said.
Mike Piazza hit a tiebreaking single in the two-run third, and the A's had little trouble maintaining the lead behind Gaudin's pitching. Stewart went 4-for-5 with three runs scored for Oakland, and Jack Cust added three hits.
- Oakland LHP Dallas Braden (1-7) was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento and LHP Dan Meyer was recalled Monday.
- Detroit RHP Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to make his major league debut Wednesday at Cleveland.
- Gaudin's previous strikeout record was eight, set on May 8 at Kansas City.
- Castillo was errorless at second base from May 30, 2006, to June 5, 2007.
- Grilli's ERA at home is 9.64, leading to the boos he hears often at Comerica Park.
- Oakland CF Nick Swisher (hamstring) did not play after leaving Sunday's game with an injury, but Geren is hopeful he will be healthy enough to play in the upcoming homestand that starts Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.