The A’s continued riding their wave of momentum Thursday as they polished off their first series sweep of the season.
They took down the Detroit Tigers, 7-5, running their win streak to a season-high four games and sweeping their first series in Motown since August 2002.
However, not all was as merry as it should have been. Finishing off Thursday’s business proved more difficult than anticipated, as Detroit scored four times off struggling reliever Dan Otero to shave a six-run lead down to two. And during that Tigers rally, A’s first baseman and All-Star candidate Stephen Vogt left the game with a cramp in his right leg.
More clarity should come from the team on his condition. As for the happenings on the final scoreboard, the A’s current joyride rolls on. A combination of timely hitting, terrific starting pitching and – at least against the Tigers -- some helpful defensive breakdowns from the opposition have helped the A’s win nine of their past 12.
Suddenly, they’re one of the American League’s hottest teams as they move on to Boston to continue this six-game road trip.
Jesse Hahn had a 4-0 lead by the time he took the mound in the bottom of the third, and the right-hander made it stand as he beat the Tigers for the second time in an 11-day span.
Starting pitching report
Hahn (3-5) took advantage of an early cushion. He was in total control over seven innings, holding the Tigers to five hits and one run, striking out five and walking one. It was Hahn’s fifth quality start in a row. Over his past three outings, he’s struck out 14 and walked just three.
Drew Pomeranz was excellent in a scoreless eighth, his first relief outing of the season after coming off the DL for a shoulder injury. But Otero’s season-long problems continued after he took the mound in the ninth with a 7-1 lead. Tyler Collins’ three-run homer capped a four-run Tigers rally and prompted manager Bob Melvin to call on closer Tyler Clippard to finish it out.
At the plate
For the second day in a row, the A’s struck early to take control. Detroit generously helped out with a couple of costly errors on the afternoon, but the A’s cashed in on their opportunities too. Josh Phegley drove a two-run triple to right-center as Oakland commanded a 3-0 lead in the second. That rally included singles from Josh Reddick and Brett Lawrie, but also a throwing error from Tigers starter Shane Greene (4-5) on Eric Sogard’s potential double-play comebacker. Reddick scored on the play.
In the third, Vogt drew a leadoff walk and Billy Butler drove him home with a double to left-center. Butler was at it again as the A’s built on their lead in the fifth. After the Tigers intentionally walked Vogt, Butler came through with an RBI single to left. Daniel Fields, who took over in left field after Yoenis Cespedes left early with flu-like symptoms, let the ball get by him for another error, and Vogt scored all the way from first to make it 6-0.
Lawrie went 6-for-11 with three doubles in the series, and the recent production from him in the bottom half of the lineup has been a very welcome sign for the A’s. He scored Ben Zobrist with a seventh-inning double to extend the lead to 7-1.
In the field
The A’s turned in an errorless game, and suddenly they’re the ones taking advantage of the other team’s miscues.
The A’s move on to Fenway Park for a three-game series against the Red Sox. In Friday’s 4:10 p.m. opener, Scott Kazmir (2-3, 2.93) returns to the mound and opposes lefty Wade Miley (4-5, 4.97). Saturday – Jesse Chavez (2-5, 2.11) vs. Joe Kelly (1-4, 5.83), 1:05 p.m. Sunday – Kendall Graveman (3-2, 5.56) vs. Clay Buchholz (3-6, 3.82), 10:35 a.m. All three games will air on CSN California.