DETROIT — Tyler Collins tainted a much-needed win for the Detroit Tigers.
Collins directed an obscene gesture at fans after he lost a ball in the lights, leading to the first run Jordan Zimmermann gave up this year, but Miguel Cabrera hit two homers to help Detroit snap a skid with a 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
“To be at home and to hear boos after that play hit a trigger inside of me and I lashed out completely inappropriately,” Collins said. “I’m absolutely embarrassed it happened and I’m very sorry to everybody in Detroit.”
The center fielder extended the middle finger on his left hand and waved it from right to left and also appeared to yell an obscenity to the booing crowd.
“Clearly, it’s something that can’t happen,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “I spoke to Tyler immediately in the dugout, in the tunnel, after it happened and I spoke to him after the game. He regrets it.”
A contrite Collins said he could not see the flyball from Oakland’s Marcus Semien because of the lights. He wasn’t charged an error, but left fielder Justin Upton was after he failed to field the ball on the ground, allowing Semien to reach third. Semien scored after Billy Burns, the next batter, hit a single to end Zimmermann’s unblemished start.
Zimmermann (4-0) gave up a run for the first time with the Tigers following 24 1/3 scoreless innings, the longest by a pitcher at the start of a season in franchise history.
“I had a good little stretch going,” he said. “Unfortunately, it ended tonight. Hopefully, I can start a new one.”
Zimmermann, who signed with Detroit as a free agent after spending the first seven years of his career in Washington, gave up seven hits and three runs — one earned — and a walk.
“We did a good job against Zimmermann, but we hit a lot of balls hard right at someone,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “(Mike) Aviles made a couple huge plays that stopped us from getting another run and more runners on base.”
Aviles played in place of second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms.
Kendall Graveman (1-2) allowed 10 hits, including three homers, and six runs.
“Kendall had good stuff for a while, but when it went, it went fast,” Melvin said. “He made a couple mistakes and it let them put a pretty big lead on us.”
Oakland dropped its third straight game on the road after winning its first seven as visitors this season, the franchise’s best start away from home since 1990.
The Tigers had lost four straight. Perhaps not coincidently, Cabrera did not have a hit in any of those games.
Cabrera hit a solo homer in the second and three-run shot in the four-run fifth inning, which was followed by Victor Martinez’s blast over the right-center wall.
“I threw (Cabrera) two sinkers that were supposed to be away,” Graveman said. “I got the sink I wanted, but they both backed up and got too much of the plate. Everybody’s seen that guy’s trophy case — you can’t make mistakes like that to him.”
The two-time MVP and one-time Triple Crown winner entered the game hitting just .206 with three doubles and one homer. The previously slumping slugger hit a double in his second at-bat and finished 4 for 4 at the plate with a single.
“Miggy gets all the credit with the exception of him using my old bat in batting practice,” Ausmus joked.
Athletics: RHP Henderson Alvarez was scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Nashville on Monday night. Alvarez is hoping to return in May after shoulder surgery in July.
Tigers: Ian Kinsler was a late scratch at second base due to flu-like symptoms. … Brian McCann (ankle) ran the bases and threw from behind the plate on Monday. If he has no ill effects on Tuesday, he could start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo.
Athletics LHP Rich Hill (2-2, 3.32 ERA) and Tigers RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-3, 3.68) take the mound in the second game of the four-game series.