Oakland A’s starter A.J. Griffin entered Tuesday night’s game against the Tigers with a sub-2 ERA. He left it before the fifth inning was over, after being battered as Detroit cruised to a 12-2 win in the first game of a crucial 10-game homestand.
The news was not all good for Detroit, which lost Max Scherzer to shoulder fatigue after two innings and Quintin Berry to what appeared to be a shoulder injury of his own — Berry was hurt while diving for a ball in the seventh inning.
Oakland chipped across a run in the first off Scherzer on a Brandon Moss RBI, but the Tigers scored eight unanswered runs after that to blow the game open. Miguel Cabrera drove in the first of his six runs with a sac fly in the first, then Jhonny Peralta homered the opposite way in the second to make it 2-1.
Cabrera tacked on a home run of his own in the third, No. 39 on the season and his first of two on the night, to push Detroit’s lead to 3-1. A Prince Fielder long ball in the fifth brought home two, then Austin Jackson doubled home a run in the sixth and Berry followed with a two-RBI double.
Cabrera then put the bow on the Tigers’ win with a massive grand slam in the eighth inning, his 40th homer of the year. The shot launched the Comerica Park crowd into a lengthy “M-V-P!” chant.
Tigers relievers pitched seven innings of one-run ball in relief of the injured Scherzer, led by Darin Downs, who pitched into the fifth.
Tigers’ MVP: Cabrera.
Is there any doubt? You drive in six, hit a grand slam and get to homer No. 40 on the year, and you earn this honor. Cabrera made another statement in his quest for the AL MVP — and did so against an A’s team that has stayed in the playoff hunt thanks to its pitching.
A tip of the cap, too, to Downs, who received a well-deserved standing ovation when he left in the fifth. Pressed into duty after Scherzer’s injury, Downs pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and picked up the victory.
Tigers’ Goat: Delmon Young/Andy Dirks
The Tigers’ 5-6 hitters posted an 0-for-10 with three strikeouts on the night. That’s not exactly what Jim Leyland was hoping for when he pulled a struggling Brennan Boesch from the lineup and dropped Dirks down to the six-hole (with Berry batting second).
What’s Next: The Tigers will send Justin Verlander to the mound on Wednesday in search of their second straight win. Brett Anderson will counter for Oakland. And the big question: Will any team, in this case Kansas City, ever help the Tigers by beating the White Sox again?