|Detroit (17-17) «||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||1||3||8||1|
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Justin Verlander summoned athletic trainer Kevin Rand and pitching coach Jeff Jones to the clubhouse after the seventh inning to examine a callus on his thumb that had begun to bleed.
He wanted to stay in the game - and would have kept pitching if it were already October, and not just mid-May.
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Detroit's ace doesn't expect the tiny blister near the knuckle of his thumb to affect him, other than being an annoyance. He might try using more moisturizer between starts to keep the area from drying out.
"I really don't know what happened. It's kind of been happening for me all season long and I've been trying to deal with it and figure it out," he said. "Obviously I want to go back, but the risk-reward, seventh inning ... there's no point in going out there and risking it and maybe something serious happens. If I could, I would. Maybe if it's the World Series I'd have gone back out there, who cares."
Verlander easily worked through Oakland's order for the first time, tossing three perfect innings on 42 pitches.
Josh Reddick hit a sharp single to center with two outs in the fourth for the first baserunner against Verlander, who then threw wildly trying for a pickoff and wound up with a two-base error and Reddick on third. But Jonny Gomes struck out swinging as Verlander escaped unscathed.
Seth Smith hit a tying solo homer to start the fifth and A's starter Jarrod Parker (1-1) retired the first two batters of the sixth, getting a huge lift from fill-in second baseman Eric Sogard's leaping, lunging stop of a high liner by Alex Avila. But Brennan Boesch doubled and Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Raburn drew back-to-back walks to chase Parker and load the bases.
Grant Balfour, demoted from his closer role in recent days, then walked Jackson to force home the go-ahead run.
Sogard was called out on a close play in the bottom half, when third baseman Cabrera fielded his bunt and made a high throw to first that replays showed Sogard beat.
Manager Bob Melvin ran out to argue with first-base umpire Mike Everitt.
Verlander didn't walk a batter until there were two outs in the seventh -- around the time he noticed his thumb was bleeding -- then retired Josh Donaldson on a fly ball to center to finish his 114-pitch day against an A's lineup featuring only four regulars.
The hard-throwing right-hander pitched eight scoreless innings against the A's last Sept. 18 in a 3-0 Tigers win in the Oakland Coliseum. During his road winning streak, Verlander owns a 2.71 ERA with 104 strikeouts.
He looked dominant early, pitching on the same mound two years after Oakland's Dallas Braden tossed an improbable perfect game here on Mother's Day against Tampa Bay.
"He's an ace for a reason," Oakland's Daric Barton said. "You think one thing and get something else. Sometimes you even get the pitch you're looking for and still can't do anything with it."
Detroit took the series opener Thursday night 10-6 but had dropped the next two before coming through in the finale. The Tigers head to Chicago to face the White Sox looking for their first consecutive victories since a four-game streak from April 15-18.
"We didn't really break out yet, but we swung it a little better. It was a good win for us," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
The short-handed A's were without their hottest hitter, Brandon Inge, because of groin tightness. Catcher Kurt Suzuki was out nursing a tender left thumb. A day after Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes went on the disabled list with a hand injury, Kila Ka'aihue also couldn't play for the second straight day because of a strained lower right hamstring and calf muscle. Second baseman Jemile Weeks rested a day after leaving in the fourth inning with a sprained left ankle.
Prince Fielder went 0 for 5 to finish a 0-for-18 series and is mired in a 0-for-22 funk since a home run Tuesday in Seattle. He is 4 for 28 (.143) on this road trip for the Tigers, who are playing a stretch with 19 of 24 games away from the Motor City.
Leyland isn't panicking about his big-money slugger, signed to a $214 million, nine-year contract in January.
"We've got guys who've got track records that will hit, it's just a matter of when," Leyland said, noting some advice he got from Ted Williams: "Don't worry about hitting the ball on the ground and don't worry about hitting the ball in the air, just worry about hitting it hard."
Cabrera had an RBI single in the fifth and another for an insurance run in the ninth. He is batting .348 (48 for 138) with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in 38 career games vs. Oakland.
|Dating back to July 10th of last year, Justin Verlander has won 13 consecutive decisions on the road. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Austin Jackson, CF||2||2||1||1||3||0||0||.320|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||0||1||0||0||2||7||.371|
|a- Danny Worth, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.176|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||5||0||3||2||0||1||0||.294|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||1||4||.266|
|Delmon Young, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.228|
|Alex Avila, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.239|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Don Kelly, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.243|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.257|
|Ryan Raburn, 2B-LF||3||0||1||0||1||2||0||.135|
|a-hit into fielder's choice-bunting for Dirks in the 9th|
|2B - Brennan Boesch (4, Parker), Ryan Raburn (5, Figueroa)|
|RBI - Austin Jackson (13), Miguel Cabrera 2 (29)|
|2-OUT RBI - Austin Jackson (3), Miguel Cabrera (11)|
|SB - Austin Jackson (6, 2nd base off Parker/Recker), Brennan Boesch (2, 3rd base off Parker/Recker), Jhonny Peralta (1, 2nd base off Parker/Recker)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|E - Justin Verlander (2, Throwing)|
|Justin Verlander (W,4-1)||7||2||1||1||1||8||1||2.47|
|Joaquin Benoit (H,10)||1||0||0||0||1||2||0||3.07|
|Jose Valverde (S,7)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.60|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 104-68, Joaquin Benoit 15-10, Jose Valverde 11-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 6-7, Joaquin Benoit 1-0, Jose Valverde 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 24, Joaquin Benoit 4, Jose Valverde 3|
|Cliff Pennington, SS||4||0||0||0||0||3||1||.211|
|Collin Cowgill, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.071|
|Josh Reddick, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.290|
|Jonny Gomes, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.246|
|Seth Smith, LF||2||1||1||1||1||1||0||.244|
|Josh Donaldson, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.086|
|Daric Barton, 1B||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.187|
|Anthony Recker, C||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||.160|
|Eric Sogard, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.145|
|HR - Seth Smith (3, Verlander)|
|SH - Anthony Recker (1)|
|RBI - Seth Smith (9)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Pennington-Sogard-Barton|
|Jarrod Parker (L,1-1)||5.2||6||2||2||4||5||0||2.10|
|WP - Jarrod Parker (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Parker 112-61, Grant Balfour 20-11, Jordan Norberto 20-10, Pedro Figueroa 19-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Parker 5-7, Jordan Norberto 2-2, Pedro Figueroa 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jarrod Parker 27, Grant Balfour 3, Jordan Norberto 5, Pedro Figueroa 5|
|Attendance - 17147|
|Game Time - 3:08|
|Temperature - 64|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Tim Welke|