Miner uses A's to make up for bad showings

BY foxsports • May 18, 2009

Zach Miner knew he would eventually get a chance to make up for two bad performances last week.

He didn't expect it would happen so soon.

Miner, who struggled as the Tigers gave up big leads against Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday, pitched 4 1-3 innings of solid relief Sunday as Detroit rallied from a six-run deficit to beat Oakland 11-7 Sunday.

"This is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Minnesota," Miner said. "We blew those two games in Minnesota, and I had a big hand in both of them, so it was huge to help us come from behind this time."

Miner got into the game in the first inning, as Jim Leyland pulled starter Armando Galarraga after he had allowed five runs and only gotten two outs. By the time Luke French replaced Miner for the sixth, Detroit had taken command of the game.

"Armando had a rough day and I just knew I needed to keep us in the game," Miner said. "That's all I was focused on."

Miner's performance was magnified by the fact that Detroit was missing two relievers.

"Bobby Seay had some tightness in his back and Joel Zumaya wasn't available, so we were trying to milk everything we could out of the guys we had left," Leyland said.

While Detroit's bullpen allowed two runs in 8 1-3 innings, the normally reliable Oakland relievers struggled. Both Santiago Casilla and Russ Springer allowed three-run homers to the first batters they faced.

"That was a surprise, but we knew it was going to be difficult for our bullpen to keep pitching this well all season," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Normally, they keep us ahead in this game, but it just didn't work today."

The Tigers outscored Oakland 34-9 in the weekend sweep.

"I just talked to everyone as a group, and told them that I thought the effort was outstanding this weekend," Geren said. "We just need to write this off as a bad series, get out of town and start fresh in Tampa."

Ramon Santiago was the star of the rally, with a three-run homer and an RBI triple among his career-high four hits.

"We all knew that we had to keep fighting," Santiago said. "I just wanted to keep my concentration."

Landon Powell hit a three-run double and Adam Kennedy homered to help the Athletics build a 6-0 lead after the top of the second.

Kennedy put the Athletics up 1-0 with a flyball off the metal base of the foul pole atop the right-field fence, and the Athletics added four more runs on Ryan Sweeney's sacrifice fly and Powell's three-run double.

Jack Hannahan walked on Galarraga's 41st pitch of the inning, bringing in Miner. Galarraga is 0-3 with a 10.90 ERA in four May starts after going 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in April.

"I won't say that it isn't a concern, but Armando is a fine major league pitcher," Leyland said. "I wish I knew what was wrong, but he'll be fine."

The Athletics made it 6-0 on Sweeney's RBI single in the second, but Santiago answered with a run-scoring triple in the bottom of the inning, and Adam Everett followed with an RBI single to make it 6-2.

Curtis Granderson walked, and Josh Anderson hit Detroit's second triple of the inning to cut the deficit to two runs.

Detroit's rally continued in the third, as Gerald Laird's RBI single made it 6-5 and chased Oakland starter Trevor Cahill.

"Trevor just couldn't get his sinker down today," Geren said. "That's really the first time that's happened to him all year."

Santiago hit Casilla's second pitch for his third homer, putting the Tigers ahead 8-6.

Orlando Cabrera's homer pulled the Athletics to 8-7 in the fifth, but Granderson's three-run homer in the bottom of the inning put the game out of reach.

Santiago fell a double short of the cycle. He didn't try to stretch a fifth-inning single and regretted it when he hit a routine base hit to lead off the seventh.

"I was thinking about second, but I just hit the ball too hard," he said. "I didn't want to hurt the team, and we ended up scoring three runs in that inning, so it worked out well."

Cahill (2-3) allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings. The teams each used five pitchers in the game.


Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman, who has been out since last June with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder, is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo Thursday at Gwinnett. ... The Tigers confirmed after the game that OF Magglio Ordonez will go on the bereavement list Monday for "personal issues." Ordonez is expected to rejoin the team Thursday.

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