Detroit at Oakland

W: S. Kazmir (6-2) L: J. Nathan (2-1)
HR: DET - T. Hunter (8)   OAK - J. Donaldson (13)

Donaldson's walk-off home run propels Athletics past Tigers wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After being shut down by Anibal Sanchez all night, the Oakland Athletics were happy finally to get a chance at Detroit's bullpen in the ninth.

Josh Donaldson hit a game-ending three-run homer off Joe Nathan with one out in the ninth and Scott Kazmir pitched his first complete game in nearly eight years to help the A's rally for a 3-1 victory against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

"It's always a bit of a relief," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But it's not like Nathan is a day at the beach, either. But certainly when a guy has had your number for that long for that period of time, you feel like now here is a new breath of life for us."

Sanchez was in command all night, allowing only two hits as he took a shutout bid into the ninth inning before Oakland rallied to hand the Tigers their eighth loss in 10 games.

Coco Crisp got it started with one out when he hit an opposite-field double barely inside the third-base line that ended Sanchez's night after 111 pitches.

John Jaso greeted Nathan with a single off third baseman Nick Castellanos' glove to set the stage for Donaldson.

"The big out there was getting Jaso," Nathan said. "You get him and it changes everything. It changes how you approach Donaldson. It changes how you pitch to him. It gives me a chance to play with him a little bit. When we didn't get Jaso, it put us in a tough spot."

Donaldson made the most of his opportunity, hitting a towering drive down the left-field line that he stood and watched, hoping it would stay fair. It did as he ended up with his second career walk-off homer, having also hit one April 12, 2013, against the Tigers.

"They had about three balls tonight that went down that line and they kind of kept hooking foul," Donaldson said. "I saw where mine started. I was just praying that it would stay fair."

It did and Nathan (2-1) blew his fourth save in 16 chances.

"It was a tough spot to bring Joe into, with the tying run on second base," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He has no margin for error. It was tough spot."

Kazmir (6-2) allowed six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts, giving up only a solo home run to Torii Hunter in the fourth inning in his second career complete game.

"As a fan that was a fun game to watch right there. It was," Kazmir said. "Throughout the whole game Anibal and I were just battling it out, out for out. We ended up getting a couple of baserunners up in the ninth and Donaldson comes up. You just kind of had that feeling when he came up to be honest with you. He saw that first pitch and didn't miss it. It was awesome."

Sanchez faced the minimum through three innings with center fielder Rajai Davis making a diving catch in the gap to rob Yoenis Cespedes of extra bases in the second inning and the Tigers turning a well-executed 3-6-1 inning-ending double play after Josh Reddick walked in the third for Oakland's first baserunner.

The A's got their first hit the following inning when Donaldson hit a clean single to center. Sanchez was helped again by his defense after that with first baseman Miguel Cabrera snaring a liner by Brandon Moss to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 lead.

The Tigers had gone ahead in the top half of the inning when Hunter hit a drive over the fence in right-center for his eighth home run of the season. Hunter hit a game-tying solo shot in Detroit's 6-5 victory Tuesday night.


Kazmir's only other complete game came in a 3-0 victory against Boston on July 3, 2006. ... Donaldson has reached base safely in 46 of his past 47 games. ... Davis left in the seventh inning with a bruised left shoulder and is day to day. ... Jesse Chavez (4-1) will start the series finale on Thursday for Oakland against Rick Porcello (7-1).

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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For the second successive spring, Josh Donaldson trots home after hitting a walk-off home run against Detroit.  (USATSI)
For the second successive spring, Josh Donaldson trots home after hitting a walk-off home run against Detroit. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

J. Donaldson
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

A. Sanchez
IP 8.1
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 9

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April 21, 2017
This weekend in baseball: AL Central (1:19)
Detroit Tigers
Rajai Davis, CF3020010 .295
   Austin Jackson, CF1000010 .256
Ian Kinsler, 2B4000012 .316
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4010000 .323
Victor Martinez, DH3010000 .341
Torii Hunter, RF3121001 .282
J.D. Martinez, LF3000011 .264
Alex Avila, C3000011 .224
Nick Castellanos, 3B3000020 .229
Danny Worth, SS3000010 .175
Anibal Sanchez, P0000000 .500
   Joe Nathan, P0000000 .000
2B - Rajai Davis (9, Kazmir)
HR - Torii Hunter (8, Kazmir)
RBI - Torii Hunter (29)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (10)
Team LOB - 2
DP - Cabrera-Worth-Sanchez
Detroit Tigers
Anibal Sanchez 8.1311190 2.49
Joe Nathan (L,2-1; BS,4) 0222001 4.58
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 111-76, Joe Nathan 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 4-11
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 28, Joe Nathan 2
Oakland Athletics
Coco Crisp, CF4110001 .239
John Jaso, DH4010011 .287
   Craig Gentry, PR-DH0100000 .261
Josh Donaldson, 3B4123010 .277
Brandon Moss, 1B3000011 .278
Yoenis Cespedes, LF3000020 .243
Jed Lowrie, SS3000000 .242
Derek Norris, C3000020 .306
Josh Reddick, RF2000120 .214
Eric Sogard, 2B2010001 .193
   a-Alberto Callaspo, PH1000000 .242
Scott Kazmir, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Sogard in the 9th
2B - Coco Crisp (9, Sanchez), Eric Sogard (5, Sanchez)
HR - Josh Donaldson (13, Nathan)
RBI - Josh Donaldson 3 (41)
Team LOB - 2
Outfield Assists - Yoenis Cespedes 1
DP - Donaldson-Sogard-Moss, Donaldson-Sogard-Moss-Donaldson-Sogard-Moss
Oakland Athletics
Scott Kazmir (W,6-2) 9611081 2.36
WP - Scott Kazmir (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 103-76
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 8-8
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 30
Game Information
Attendance - 15590
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Jordan Baker, Third Base - Angel Campos