Tigers-Athletics Preview

Now that the Oakland Athletics’ season-high losing streak is over, they can focus on extending the Detroit Tigers’ longest road slide of the year.

As Max Scherzer looks to bounce back from his roughest outing of 2014, the Tigers face a stiff test against AL ERA leader Sonny Gray on Tuesday night when they try to avoid their fifth consecutive road defeat.

Oakland (31-20) scored seven runs during a four-game losing streak, then matched its total from the previous five by breaking out with a season-high five homers during Monday’s 10-0 victory over Detroit.

"We’ve shown that we can hit some home runs, and we did that (Monday),” said manager Bob Melvin, whose team’s 57 home runs rank among the most in the majors.

"But over the last couple of days we wanted to impress upon, pass the baton, make guys work, get in good counts."

Losers in seven of eight, the Tigers (28-19) have been outscored 34-6 during their three-game skid. Detroit has a 7.51 ERA during that stretch, and starters Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander and Drew Smyly combined for an 11.49 ERA.

"I’m not really puzzled,” manager Brad Ausmus said. ”It’s pretty clear cut. We’re just not pitching well.”

Scherzer (6-1, 2.59 ERA) allowed six runs and 25 hits in 39 innings while winning six straight starts before he yielded all seven of his runs in the first three innings and 12 hits total in lasting seven of an 11-10, 13-inning loss at Cleveland on Wednesday.

Including the postseason, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last four starts at Oakland.

A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson is 1 for 12 with five strikeouts, including the playoffs versus Scherzer. Teammate Yoenis Cespedes is 4 for 8 with a double, triple and home run the regular season and playoffs against him.

"Oakland is well rounded," Scherzer told the Tigers’ official website. "They have guys who get base, guys who can steal, and they hit for power. They have a little bit of everything; they challenge you."

A return home proved to be the remedy for the recent ills of the A’s, who have won seven of eight at the Coliseum. Donaldson had a homer among his three hits and Derek Norris hit a grand slam Monday.

Donaldson has homered in each of the last two contests and has five RBIs while doing so in three straight at home.

The only AL qualifying starter with a sub-2.00 ERA, Gray (5-1, 1.99) has allowed one run each while going 14 innings in his last two starts. He lasted eight during a 5-2, 11-inning loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

In his only previous appearances against the Tigers, the right-hander went 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA while pitching Games 2 and 5 of the 2013 ALDS at home.

Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 5 versus Gray during that series and hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning of the 3-0 victory in the decisive Game 5.

Victor Martinez went 2 for 6 in the playoffs versus Gray and is 7 for 12 in the last three games for the Tigers.

"It will be interesting to see how he attacks our lineup," Scherzer said.