OAKLAND — It was a feel-good day up and down the A’s lineup Saturday.
Or to be more accurate, a feel-better day.
Just a night earlier, the A’s managed just one run and eight base runners total in a loss to Detroit. Taking the field about 15 hours later under the sunshine at the Coliseum, the A’s could do no wrong offensively.
They cracked double figures in runs for the first time this season in a 12-3 rout of the Tigers. The onslaught included eight extra-base hits from a team that came in ranked 13th in the American League in that category entering the day.
Billy Butler drove in three runs and Khris Davis cracked his 14th homer to add the exclamation point after the outcome was long decided. Eight of the nine players in the starting lineup registered at least one hit, with Billy Burns the lone exception.
In summary, it was a much needed breakout for a team that came in hitting .179 and averaging 2.9 runs per game over its last eight games. The A’s broke a 3-3 tie with five runs in the sixth against the Tigers’ bullpen, and that made a winner of right-hander Jesse Hahn (2-2), who went six innings and gave up three runs.
The A’s previous high in runs scored this season was eight.
Starting pitching report
Hahn walked four but largely kept things in check. He did give up Victor Martinez’s two-run homer that tied it 3-3 in the top of the sixth, which came right after a leadoff walk to Miguel Cabrera. But overall, it was more of what the A’s need — starters giving them six (or more) quality innings and keeping the team in the game.
It was a stress-free day for the bullpen as Fernando Rodriguez, Marc Rzepczynski and Zach Neal, who started just three days ago, closed out the win. A's manager Bob Melvin confirmed after the game that using Neal on Saturday means the A's will look elsewhere for a starter Tuesday. One definite possibility would be Triple-A right-hander Daniel Mengden, who has impressed greatly in the minors and is on the same turn as Neal.
At the plate
There were highlights up and down the boxscore. Aside from Butler’s big day, leadoff man Coco Crisp had two hits and two RBI. Davis’ homer, a three-run shot in the seventh, was his major-league leading 11th in May. That’s the most home runs by an A’s hitter in one month since Jason Giambi swatted 13 in September 2000.
Butler connected for his first homer of the season in the second. Danny Valencia, who snapped out of a dry spell with three hits, homered in the fourth for a 2-0 lead. But things really kicked into gear in the sixth, when Butler delivered a two-run single off reliever Warwick Saupold that put the A’s in front for good, 5-3.
In the field
Catcher Josh Phegley came up with a big play when he retrieved an errant pitch and threw to Hahn covering home plate to get Ian KInsler, who was trying to score on the play after stealing third.
The announced crowd was 24,154 on Josh Reddick Bobblehead Day.
Rich Hill’s 65 strikeouts are tied for sixth most in Oakland history before the end of May. Hill (7-3, 2.18) goes for his fifth consecutive victory in Sunday’s 1:05 series finale. Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 5.55) takes the ball for Detroit.