The Oakland Athletics got their second brilliant start in a row and cruised to a 14th consecutive head-to-head victory over the Detroit Tigers, claiming their ninth straight win at Comerica Park by a final score of 7-2 as Frankie Montas came up just an out shy of a complete game.
Miguel Cabrera’s RBI double on Montas’ 109th and final pitch ensured the Dominican hurler wouldn’t be able to finish things by himself, but Oakland (21-25) provided more than enough run support to ensure the bullpen would have a second straight leisurely game. After only needing one inning from the relief corps yesterday, Bob Melvin asked his bullpen to get just one out, which Lou Trivino took care of by striking out Ronny Rodriguez to end the game.
That strikeout was the 11th of the night by A’s pitchers, as Montas fanned 10, eclipsing his previous career-high for strikeouts in a game by three. He victimized Christin Stewart three times and didn’t allow a single walk on the night, surrendering just four hits and letting one batter reach via a hit by pitch.
The A’s never trailed for a second consecutive day, getting the first run in the top of the fourth, when Matt Olson beat out a would-be inning-ending double play ball at first, allowing Matt Chapman to score. Mark Canha hit a two-run, opposite-field, first-pitch home run off Tigers starter Daniel Norris in the top of the fifth — his 15th homer off a lefty since the start of 2018, the third-most in the American League in that span.
Detroit (18-25) would get one back in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of doubles, the first by Cabrera and the second by Josh Harrison. Dawel Lugo was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base, but Montas settled down by getting John Hicks and JaCoby Jones to ground into back-to-back force outs to end the inning.
After failing to produce at the plate, Jones, a .165 hitter in the Tigers’ lineup for his defense, would do no better in the field, letting a ball by him for the A’s fourth run as an Olson single went all the way to the wall, allowing Khris Davis to score from first and letting Olson get all the way to third. It wouldn’t matter what base Olson made it to, though, as he was able to trot home on Chad Pinder’s fourth homer of the year, a 437-foot blast to the deepest part of the yard that ended Norris’ night.
The A’s would tack on one last run in the eighth off reliever Sandy Baez as Stephen Piscotty doubled, reaching for and connecting with a breaking ball out of the zone for a gapper, and Davis followed with an RBI single. It was a thoroughly dominant performance, with Oakland outhitting the Tigers 9-4, outwalking them 3-0 and striking out just four times while Montas got constant swings and misses.