Rich Hill got the A’s back on course in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers that snapped a three-game losing streak.
The lefty delivered seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball, a much-needed effort after Oakland starters had allowed six runs in each of the previous three games and failed to last five innings in each.
While he was restoring order on the mound, A’s hitters got the job done against Detroit right-hander Mike Pelfrey (0-4) and the defense was sound in a stellar all-around effort that got the A’s back above .500 at 11-10.
They jumped on Pelfrey for three runs in the fourth, then Marcus Semien drilled a two-run homer in the seventh to provide some cushion.
With the victory, the A’s clinched at least a .500 record on this 10-game road trip. But they’re looking to finish even stronger after starting the trip 4-0 before dropping three in a row.
Starting pitching report
Hill (3-2) struck out eight and didn’t issue a single walk, which allowed him to work deeper than any start this season. The lefty came into the game having walked a combined seven over his previous two outings.
Sean Doolittle came on in the eighth and struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning. The lefty ran his fastball up to 96 miles per hour and got Jose Iglesias to chase a heater high and out of the strike zone to end the inning. John Axford polished off the Tigers in the ninth in a non-save situation, but he lost the shutout when Victor Martinez hit an RBI double with two outs that deflected off the glove of center fielder Billy Burns.
At the plate
It was encouraging to see the A’s bunch four hits together in their three-run rally that broke a scoreless tie. Their three-game skid featured precious few extended rallies and too many double-play grounders that stunted other threats. Josh Reddick led off with a single and stole second. He scored on Jed Lowrie’s single off the glove of Iglesias at short. Stephen Vogt chipped a double down the left-field line to move runners to second and third. Then Coco Crisp delivered a sacrifice fly. Khris Davis singled home Vogt to make it 3-0 off Pelfrey, who has now surrendered 18 runs in 14 2/3 innings over three career starts against Oakland.
In the field
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton had the play of the night in robbing Chris Coghlan of a homer in the third. Upton made a leaping attempt with his arm extended over the wall. The ball bounced off the palm of his glove and back in the field of play, but Upton stayed with it and caught the ball out of mid-air after his feet hit the ground.
But Hill got some outfield assistance himself. Right fielder Josh Reddick made a pretty basket catch on the dead run to retire Nick Castellanos in the fifth.
The series’ premier pitching matchup awaits Wednesday, with Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.73) taking the hill for the A’s and Justin Verlander (1-2, 5.79) going for the Tigers. It’s their first time facing each other since Game 5 of the 2013 American League Division Series. First pitch is 4:08 p.m.