OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — Bob Melvin high-tailed it onto the field and got in the face of plate umpire Andy Fletcher to argue a called third strike against Brandon Moss. The furious Oakland manager was thrown out in the bottom of the eighth, and Oakland’s nine-game winning streak was gone an inning later.
Justin Verlander outpitched Brett Anderson to do in the Athletics again, and Prince Fielder homered for the second straight day as the Detroit Tigers slowed down one of baseball’s hottest teams with a 7-3 victory Saturday.
The A’s struck out looking six times.
“It’s pretty well documented what I think,” Melvin said. “Again, you don’t want to make excuses. We got beat today but you get frustrated at times, too.”
Even after Moss sat down to start the eighth, the A’s loaded the bases and missed chances. Pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie struck out looking against Joaquin Benoit.
Detroit didn’t let the A’s back into this one a day after losing 4-3 in 12 innings.
After hitting a three-run homer during a four-hit game Friday, Fielder extended his hitting streak to eight games with a two-out single in the first and connected for his fourth homer. He walked in the fifth and seventh.
Torii Hunter hit his first homer since joining Detroit to help back Verlander, and Jhonny Peralta followed Fielder’s leadoff shot in the fourth with a three-run homer.
“Obviously they’re a team that comes back and they play hard the whole game,” Fielder said. “Any time you have a lead you definitely want to keep it against them, especially in the late innings, because you never know what’s going to happen. They’re a late-inning team and they tend to come back. I’m just glad we were able to hold them off today.”
A’s nemesis Verlander (2-1) was well prepared for 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 on March 29, pitched the Tigers past the A’s 6-0 in the Game 5 clincher at the Coliseum last October after winning the opener.
“I don’t really think about it, to be honest with you,” Verlander said. “The fans reminded me with their boos.”
Even dropping to 9-3, the A’s have tied the second-best mark in club history after 12 games.
Verlander, who took a 7-0 loss his previous time out against the Yankees, had to throw 31 pitches in the fourth, taking him to 79 — and that inning kept him from pitching the seventh. 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, matching 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 third.
The A’s have had their share of Verlander.
“The way he pitched in the postseason was something that you don’t see too often,” Norris said. “He was lights out.”
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.
“I never really got into a rhythm,” Anderson said. “Solo home runs don’t usually beat you. The three-run homer was kind of the tip of the iceberg. That’s a good lineup. I made some mistakes and they made me pay for them. My slider was probably the worst it’s been since I’ve been in the big leagues. I just didn’t have the same sharpness and depth on it it usually has but I tried to battle.”
The short-handed A’s were forced to shuffle their outfield because Crisp is nursing a strained left groin and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left hand.
NOTES: Crisp is expected to sit out Sunday again. … Tigers RHP reliever and former A’s closer Octavio Dotel will rest his inflamed elbow again Sunday. “It’s better to miss one or two days than miss three months,” he said. … Peralta hit just his second homer in Oakland. … The A’s sold out for the second time in 2013. … Lowrie struck out with the bases loaded for the 15th time in his career.
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