Fulmer impresses but losing streak continues for Tigers
DETROIT (AP) — The Oakland Athletics left home as a .500 team, looking for a spark. They’re returning to the Coliseum looking very sharp.
Jed Lowrie had two more hits, Sean Manaea pitched six strong innings and the Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 Thursday to sweep a four-game series.
“It is really tough to sweep a four-game series, especially when the other team scores first in three of the four games,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Our pitchers made big pitches when we needed them, our bullpen was great and the hitters just kept getting key hits.”
The A’s went 8-2 on their three-city road trip, the first time they had won eight times on a single swing since going 10-0 on a trip to Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City as part of their 20-game winning streak in 2002. Oakland has won 10 of 12 overall.
“This shows you what can happen when a whole team gets going,” Manaea said. “Everyone is picking each other up right now, and we’re winning a lot of games.”
Detroit lost its ninth straight, matching a streak from September. The Tigers haven’t dropped 10 in a row since their 119-loss season in 2003.
“This is a learning process for a lot of our young guys,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re not swinging the bats great, and we’re playing some very good teams right now. That combination will do some damage to you.”
Manaea (8-6) won his third straight start, allowing two runs in six innings on five hits and a walk. Three relievers finished, with Blake Treinen pitching the ninth for his 20th save, including 17 in a row.
“I still felt good in the sixth, but the way our bullpen is going, I was happy to let them finish it off,” he said. “They have been spectacular.”
Michael Fulmer (3-7) gave up four runs and nine hits while becoming the first Tigers starter to pitch eight innings since May 20. He is 1-3 in his past six starts.
“I’m tired of saying it, but I thought my stuff was good today,” he said. “I’m just not getting the results we need, and that’s more frustrating for me than anyone.”
The Tigers took the lead in the first inning on Nicholas Castellanos’s two-run homer, extending his extra-base streak to five games.
Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder started the second with singles, and Mark Canha made it 2-1 with a bloop single. Lowrie followed with his eighth hit of the series, a tying single, and Khris Davis gave the A’s a 3-2 lead with the fifth single in six batters.
Lowrie went 9 for 17 (.529) with two homers and three doubles in the set, driving in at least one run in all four games.
“Michael tried to muscle through that inning a little bit and they got some runs out of it,” Gardenhire said. “We talked to him after that inning, and reminded him to use all of his pitches, not just the fastball.”
Pinder’s RBI double over the head of Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones made it 4-2 in the fourth. Pinder spent most of the series hitting long flyballs that Leonys Martin kept tracking down at the 420-foot mark in center.
“I told him he was a stupid hitter,” Melvin joked. “He might have had eight homers if he would have stopped hitting the ball to center field, but he finally got one over their head.”
The Tigers loaded the bases with three two-out singles in the sixth, but Manaea struck out Niko Goodrum to end the inning.
The A’s have won their last nine games against Detroit, their longest streak against the Tigers since Lefty Grove and Jimmie Foxx led the Philadelphia Athletics to 10 straight wins over Detroit in 1931.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman could play a couple rehab games before returning from a hand injury. Chapman had a cortisone shot on Monday and was hoping to swing a bat on Thursday or Friday.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Stumpf (ulnar nerve) remains in Triple-A Toledo on a rehab assignment. Stumpf is Detroit’s only left-handed reliever.
A’s: Return home after their 10-game road trip to face the Cleveland Indians. Paul Blackburn (1-2, 8.83) pitches Friday’s opener against Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.44).
Tigers: Travel to Toronto for a four-game series against the Blue Jays. Francisco Liriano (3-3, 3.94) faces Marcus Stroman (0-5, 6.80) on Friday.