Yes Mr. Korach, the Tigers tried to give this one away. Sadly, the A's were not in a receiving mood.
Thus not even a sloppy effort by the American League Central leaders- nor another late rally- were enough for the A's to sneak away with a second straight victory before a lively crowd at the Coliseum (ha).
Of course when you manage only three hits through the first eight innings, chances are it's not going to end well.
Gio Gonzalez dug himself a 2-0 hole just two batters in. After a walk to Curtis Granderson, A's-killer Placido Polanco- who entered tonight's game with a career .388 average against Oakland- homered down the left-field line. The Tigers ran themselves out of a possible third run when Marcus Thames hesitated rounding second base on a double by Ryan Rayburn (3-for-3), and ultimately found himself in no-man's land between third and home. Both runners ended up at third base, with Rayburn being the odd man out. Gonzalez struck out Brandon Inge to end the inning, his first of five K's.
The A's loaded the bases in the bottom of the first off tonight's starting- and winning- pitcher Armando Galarraga, thanks to a pair of walks and an error by shortstop Adam Everett. But a 5-4-3 double play grounder off the bat of Kurt Suzuki killed the threat.
Detroit went right back at it in the second, putting runners at second and third with one out, only to make its second baserunning gaffe in as many innings, with Magglio Ordóñez caught napping off third base on a grounder to Adam Kennedy.
The blunders continued when Rayburn dropped a fly ball in left. Unfortunately for batter Ryan Sweeney, it was in foul territory. Rayburn atoned for his miff with a run-scoring single in the third to make it 3-0.
Sweeney recorded the A's first hit, a triple to right with two outs in the fourth, and scored on Jack Cust's single to center to cut the lead to 3-1.
Gonzalez exited after just 84 pitches through five, flirting a little too much with danger for most of the game, but allowing the heavy-hitting Tigers only the three runs on seven hits. His counterpart was just a little better at walking the tightrope; Galarraga left after retiring one batter in the seventh having given up one run despite walking six batters.
Rayburn doubled with one out in the sixth off Santiago Casilla, and took third on a wild pitch. Inge then dropped a base hit between three fielders to score Rayburn.
A Polanco- there's that name again- RBI single stretched the lead to 5-1 in the ninth. It was an insurance run that went unused, but not a bad plan anyway what with the nightly tease sure to occur in the bottom half.
Just like clockwork Mark Ellis stroked a two-run homerun to make it 5-3, and when Kennedy singled, the A's had the tying run at the plate in the person of Orlando Cabrera with only one out. Funny thing about teases; they're...teases, and Cabrera grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the suspense. But was there really any doubt?
And so the A's turn the page on their third straight losing month (13-15) with an eye on a series win tomorrow afternoon.