The A’s have gotten predictable at Comerica Park the last few days.
Once again, they got the bats cranking early against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday and never let up. The result was a 14-4 blowout victory, the A’s third straight over the American League Central leaders and a continuation of Oakland’s offensive revival in Motown.
How to explain the A’s behavior? They arrived in Detroit a team that had been short-circuiting offensively since the All-Star break. Yet In the first three games of this series, the A’s have combined for 28 runs and 40 hits against a team that featured the lowest ERA in the American League.
Those numbers might be significantly higher if Tuesday’s victory hadn’t been called after five-plus innings due to rain.
Brandon Moss led Wednesday’s season-high 21-hit attack with the biggest game of his major league career, going 4 for 5 with two homers, six RBI and finishing a triple short of the cycle.
But what jumps out is how many different hitters have thrived in this series. Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Alberto Callaspo and Kurt Suzuki all had three hits each, and Donaldson and Eric Sogard both drove in two runs.
Struggling left fielder Yoenis Cespedes even joined in the fun with two hits, two runs and a run-scoring single. Seven players in the A’s lineup drove in runs, similar to Monday’s victory when six different Athletics had an RBI.
As they did against Anibal Sanchez in the opener and Justin Verlander on Tuesday, the A’s worked the pitch count up against Tigers starter Doug Fister (11-7). Detroit’s starting pitchers haven’t worked past the fifth inning yet this series. That’s the kind of repetition A’s manager Bob Melvin can live with.
Starting pitching report
Dan Straily (7-7) flirted with danger early, putting nine runners on base in the first four innings. But he went six inning s and allowed just one run, giving up eight hits and striking out four.
Straily walked two, doing well to throw strikes and letting the Tigers put the ball in play once he got his big lead. It appeared heading into the day that Straily might be pitching for his spot in the rotation with Bartolo Colon coming off the D.L. on Thursday. But with Tommy Milone being sent down and Brett Anderson joining the bullpen, Straily looks like he’ll be around for his next start.
Anderson came off the 60-day disabled list and made his first major league appearance since April 29. He worked the final three innings and allowed three runs, all in the eighth. Anderson allowed five hits with one strikeout and didn’t walk a batter over 56 pitches. It was the type of extended outing Melvin wants to get the lefty. The goal is to build his pitch count enough in the bullpen so that he will be ready for a starting role down the stretch if needed.
At the plate
There were highlights up and down the box score for the A’s. But Moss’ current tear has to be most encouraging for Melvin. Coco Crisp has heated up in the leadoff spot but Oakland has been searching for one of its middle-of-the-order hitters to get hot. The cleanup man is hitting .414 (12 for 29) with 12 RBI over his last nine games. Even Cespedes has shown small signs that he might be turning some sort of corner with an RBI hit in each of the last two games.
In the field
Defense took a back seat to the offense tonight, but Sogard started a 4-6-3 double play with a slick backhanded glove flip to second in the second.
An announced crowd of 31,973 probably expected to see lots of runs this series, just not from the guys in the road grays.
The Tigers’ Max Scherzer (19-1, 2.73) is one of just three pitchers in major league history to win 19 of his first 20 decisions in a season. That’s a storyline in itself for this 10:05 a.m. series finale. But the A’s are more concerned with the form of Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.97) as he returns to the rotation after missing two starts on the disabled list due to a strained groin.