Tigers 7, Oakland 3
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Prince Fielder homered for the second straight game, Torii Hunter hit his first clout since joining Detroit to help back Justin Verlander and the Tigers snapped the Oakland Athletics’ nine-game winning streak with a 7-3 victory Saturday.
Jhonny Peralta followed Fielder’s leadoff shot in the fourth with a three-run homer, and the Tigers didn’t let the A’s back into this one a day after losing 4-3 in 12 innings.
A’s nemesis Verlander (2-1) outpitched Oakland lefty Brett Anderson before a sellout crowd of 35,067 similar to those spirited fans who packed the Coliseum for last fall’s division series between these clubs.
Verlander, making his third start since signing a $180 million, seven-year contract March 29, pitched the Tigers past the A’s 6-0 in the Game 5 division series clincher at the Coliseum last October and also won Game 1 of the series.
This time, he shut down the American League’s hottest team. Even dropping to 9-3, the A’s have tied the second-best mark in club history after 12 games.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin was ejected by plate umpire Andy Fletcher in the bottom of the eighth for arguing after Brandon Moss was called out on strikes. The A’s loaded the bases that inning but pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie struck out looking against Joaquin Benoit.
Verlander, who took a 7-0 loss his last time out against the Yankees, had to throw 31 pitches in the fourth, taking him to 79. The right-hander struck out six and walked three in six innings, allowing one run and three hits. He gave way to Al Alburquerque after 111 pitches.
Chris Young, playing center field in place of the injured Coco Crisp, hit a two-out, two-run double in the seventh and Tigers manager Jim Leyland turned to Phil Coke. He retired Josh Reddick on a grounder.
Verlander got plenty of run support.
Brayan Pena’s RBI double in the sixth chased Anderson, then Pat Neshek immediately gave up a run-scoring double to Austin Jackson.
Anderson (1-2) allowed three home runs to match a career high. He was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out two and walked three.
Derek Norris hit a two-out RBI single in the second, then Hunter tied the game at 1 in the top of the third.
Hunter’s first homer since signing with Detroit during the offseason was a memorable drive that landed a few rows shy of the glass luxury suites high in the left-field seats.
The short-handed A’s were forced to shuffle their outfield with Crisp nursing a strained left groin and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand.
Fielder followed his four-hit game a night earlier in which he had a three-run homer with another nice day. He extended his hitting streak to eight games with a two-out single in the first, then connected for his fourth homer. He walked in the fifth and seventh.
Omar Infante singled in the fourth for a nine-game hitting streak as the first five batters of the inning reached base against Anderson.
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