Miguel Cabrera homered twice and drove in six runs as the host Detroit Tigers survived Max Scherzer’s early exit and cruised past the A’s 12-2 in the opener of a three-game series on Tuesday.
Scherzer, who leads the majors with 224 strikeouts, left after the second inning with shoulder fatigue. The bullpen picked up the slack as five different relievers combined to allow one run in seven innings, with Darin Downs (2-1) getting credit for the win for the Tigers, who remained three games behind the Chicago White Sox, who beat the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, in the American League Central.
A.J. Griffin (6-1) was knocked around for five runs on eight hits in 4²⁄³ innings to suffer his first major-league loss for the A’s, who still remain in the top wild-card spot.
Scherzer surrendered a run in the first, but Detroit got that back in the bottom of the frame on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly and took the lead on Jhonny Peralta’s solo homer in the second. Cabrera made it a 3-1 gap with his career-high 39th blast — a towering shot down the left field line off a hanging curveball from Griffin.
Prince Fielder tucked a two-run homer into the first row in right as the Tigers piled on in the fifth. Cabrera turned the game into a blowout and continued his MVP campaign in the eighth, following three straight singles by taking Jesse Chavez out to deep left-center for his third career grand slam.
NOTES: Cabrera has hit safely in eight straight games and has homered in three of the last four. He leads the AL in hitting (.333) and RBIs (129). ... A’s outfielder Coco Crisp (pink eye) left the game in the fourth inning.