DETROIT (AP) — Weather on not, the Tigers are struggling.
The Oakland Athletics are closing in on a 16th straight win over Detroit — but they’ll have to wait 3½ months before trying to finish it off.
The A’s led the Tigers 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday when the game was suspended because of rain. Oakland scored twice in the top of the seventh to take the lead, but the teams were unable to complete the inning before the tarp was brought onto the field. The game will resume Sept. 6 before the Tigers play a series in Oakland.
“It’s in September, so we’re going to have some extra guys,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t think anybody wanted to wait around for potentially a non-start.”
This was the finale of a four-game series that marked Oakland’s only scheduled trip to Detroit this season.
The A’s have won 15 straight over the Tigers, and Stephen Piscotty put them in position for another victory when he hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the inning for Detroit, and he was in the middle of his plate appearance when the game was halted.
If the bottom of the seventh had been completed and Oakland still led, the A’s could have been declared the winners of a rain-shortened game, but since the visiting team took the lead in the top of the inning and the home team didn’t have a full chance to answer, the game was suspended.
Immediately after the stoppage, the A’s milled around on the field for a few minutes. It wasn’t raining all that hard, so the teams could have perhaps squeezed in the bottom of the seventh.
“They were told that once it started raining, it was going to rain really hard,” Melvin said. “If they have orders to do that, I get it. I’m not a weather man, either, just wasn’t raining very hard.”
Harrison suggested the Tigers — who were trying to snap a six-game losing streak — could have rallied if given the chance.
“At least finish the at-bat,” Harrison said. “We had another 10 minutes. We could’ve scored three runs real quick and not have to make it up.”
It started raining hard soon enough, and the delay lasted 1 hour, 41 minutes, before play was called and the resumption date was announced.
RETURN TO MOTOWN
Mike Fiers allowed three runs in six innings for Oakland. Fiers pitched for the Tigers last season before he was traded to the A’s in August.
“The game started off a little rough, pitches going everywhere, trying to do too much,” Fiers said. “Maybe thinking about playing for them last year? Having to face your former team isn’t always easy.”
Dawel Lugo’s sacrifice fly in the first gave the Tigers their first lead during the losing streak. Josh Phegley’s passed ball allowed another run to score later in the inning.
Oakland rallied with three in the third. Marcus Semien hit an RBI triple and scored on Chad Pinder’s sacrifice fly. Piscotty added a run-scoring single.
Nicholas Castellanos tied it in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer.
Detroit starter Gregory Soto gave up three runs in four innings.
Another win over the Tigers would tie an Athletics record for consecutive victories against one team. They beat the New York Yankees 16 straight times from 1989-91.
The Tigers lost 16 in a row to Minnesota from 2002-03, their longest losing streak against one opponent since at least 1908.
Tigers: 1B Niko Goodrum, who missed the previous two games with flu-like symptoms, led off the bottom of the first with a triple.
Athletics: Oakland starts a three-game series at Cleveland on Monday night. Brett Anderson (4-3) starts for the A’s against Carlos Carrasco (4-3).
Tigers: Detroit has Monday off before hosting a three-game set against Miami. Spencer Turnbull (2-3) takes the mound for the Tigers on Tuesday night against Caleb Smith (3-1).
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