Athletics 6, Tigers 2

BY foxsports • April 17, 2011

Dallas Braden helped pitch the Athletics to their second home win of the season, but it might have come at a price.

Braden combined with four relievers on a six-hitter but had to leave early in Oakland's 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tiger on Saturday night after complaining of tightness in his left shoulder.

A's manager Bob Geren said that Braden, who threw a perfect game on Mother's Day in 2010, would undergo further evaluation. The pitcher was terse when asked about his health afterward.

''Shoulder stiff,'' Braden responded coldly before repeating himself. ''Shoulder was stiff. I couldn't continue. Show up tomorrow, we'll evaluate then.''

Braden's health was the only dark lining on an otherwise solid day for the A's, who dropped the first two games on this homestand before knocking around Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui had two hits apiece as Oakland smacked six doubles, five against Verlander (1-2).

The A's also overcame their major league-leading 17th error to win for the second time in six games at the Coliseum this season. They ended Detroit's four-game winning streak.

''Our pitching staff's been doing their thing all year so we have to start scoring some runs for them,'' Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington said. ''You always want to win at home. Now we have to try to go out here tomorrow and try to split this series.''

Braden wasn't as crisp as he has been this season and had to pitch out of jams in the second and fourth.

Coming off six sharp innings against the Chicago White Sox on Monday, Braden (1-1) struck out five and walked two. He left after five innings and only 67 pitches when his shoulder tightened up.

''He was throwing the ball well that inning, then started going to his changeup a lot more,'' Geren said. ''That gave you the indication that maybe he didn't want to use his fastball for one reason or the other.''

Braden said he knew he couldn't continue after the fifth. That put the game in the hands of Oakland's bullpen, which had come under scrutiny after failing to support strong outings by starters Gio Gonzalez and Brandon McCarthy in the first two games of this four-game series.

This time, the relievers didn't give in.

Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow, Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes pitched one inning apiece to complete the six-hitter.

Oakland needed the strong outing to help overcome a throwing error by first baseman Daric Barton that gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

It was the A's eighth error in their past five games. Fortunately for Oakland, the offense got to Verlander in the fourth.

DeJesus, Josh Willingham and Matsui hit consecutive doubles to open the inning and give the A's a 2-1 lead. Kurt Suzuki followed with a single and when left fielder Ryan Raburn bobbled the ball for an error, Matsui raced around third to score.

The game took a quirky turn in the bottom of the fifth.

Verlander walked Barton, then was on the mound when he suddenly jumped off the rubber and fired toward the plate. The ball hit DeJesus in the foot and he was initially awarded first base while Barton moved to second.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland came out to question the call, and after the four umpires conferred, the play was ruled a balk. DeJesus was sent back to the box and Barton remained at second.

Verlander explained that he was trying to make a pickoff throw to first base but his body was caught out of position, so he thought if he just threw home he could avoid a balk.

''I saw the video of it and I couldn't help but laugh at myself,'' Verlander said. ''It might be the first time it happened in general. I thought nothing could happen at the plate. It was funny talking to the umpires. They gave me a hard time about it, too.''

Verlander got out of the jam but was gone an inning later after an RBI double by Coco Crisp. The right-hander allowed eight hits and four runs - three earned - in six innings, finishing with six strikeouts.

Oakland scored a pair of insurance runs in the eighth off reliever Enrique Gonzalez. Detroit then loaded the bases in the ninth and scored one run before Fuentes retired the final two batters.

Designated hitter Magglio Ordonez went 1 for 4 in his return to Detroit's lineup. He had been out since Monday with a tight Achilles' in his right foot.

NOTES: The Tigers have doubled in all 15 games this year, the franchise's longest streak to start a season since at least 1919. ... Verlander needs eight strikeouts to reach 1,000 for his career. ... Leyland said he plans to give 3B Brandon Inge the day off Sunday. ... The seven runs scored by Detroit in the 10th inning Friday were the most the Tigers have scored in extra innings since 1991. ... Barton's error was his fifth this year. The first baseman had 10 total in 2010. ... Oakland had not hit three consecutive doubles in one inning since Sept. 5, 2009, against Seattle. ... A's RHP Michael Wuertz got knocked around during a rehab assignment with Class-A Stockton. Wuertz, on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, started and gave up three runs and four hits in one inning.

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