OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Olson scored from second base on a fielding error by Detroit third baseman Jeimer Candelario with two outs in the ninth inning, rallying the Oakland Athletics past the Tigers 3-2 on Sunday for their eighth straight win.
Sean Murphy hit a tying home run in the eighth as the A’s swept the four-game series.
“We feel pretty good about the way we’re playing right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We weren’t getting a ton of good swings, but as long as we’re close we feel like we find a way to win the game.”
Olson hit a one-out double off Gregory Soto (1-0) when Tigers center fielder Victor Reyes lost a high fly ball in the sun. After Matt Chapman struck out looking, Murphy walked before pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland hit a sharp grounder that rolled under Candelario’s glove into left field.
“Everything that kind of could go wrong did go wrong in this four-game series,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We didn’t hit and then ultimately we just couldn’t finish them all off. I thought today was a breakthrough day for us early and then ultimately they did more than we did to win.”
Ramon Laureano had an RBI triple for the A’s.
The A’s are 9-1 since starting the season 0-6.
“Everybody’s kind of rolling right now,” said Moreland, who had a walkoff single to beat the Dodgers on April 7. “We feel good as a group. Seems we’re playing good baseball on all sides of it.”
Harold Castro had three hits for the Tigers, including a two-run single in the sixth that snapped Detroit’s 23-inning scoreless streak.
The Tigers have lost four straight after sweeping three from the Astros in Houston.
“Just how it happens,” starting pitcher Matthew Boyd said. “I wouldn’t say it’s any sort of luck or anything like that. I had an opportunity to close out the eighth inning and gave up a run.”
Lou Trivino (1-0) retired three batters for the win.
Both starters pitched effectively but left with no-decisions.
Detroit’s Boyd gave up four hits and two runs in 7 1/3 innings. Murphy’s home run was the first off Boyd this season after the lefty allowed an AL-leading 15 in the shortened 2020 season.
A’s starter Chris Bassitt struck out a season-high eight in six innings and allowed five hits and two runs.
Bassitt pitched himself into trouble in the first but wriggled out of the jam with a little luck. After Tigers leadoff man Robbie Grossman walked and Candelario singled, Willi Castro lofted a short fly that fell in front of A’s center fielder Laureano. Laureano alertly threw to third to nail Grossman, who had paused to see if the ball would drop. Wilson Ramos singled to load the bases but Bassitt retired Renato Nunez on a popup then fanned Harold Castro on three pitches.
“I was trying to pitch a little bit too much in the first and hit spots instead of going right at them,” Bassitt said.
The game marked the 1,471st for Melvin as manager of the A’s, tying current White Sox skipper Tony La Russa for second most in Oakland history. Connie Mack holds the franchise record with 7,396. “It means I’ve dodged a few bullets along the way and remained in place,” said Melvin, whose 776 wins are 22 fewer than La Russa’s.
Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull threw a bullpen at the Tigers’Triple-A facility in Toledo and is scheduled to come off the IL to pitch against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Turnbull has been on the COVID-19 list since March 29.
Athletics: OF Stephen Piscotty is due to come off the paternity list Monday.
Tigers: Following a day off, RHP Michael Fulmer (1-0. 3.00 ERA) faces the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday to begin a seven-game homestand.
Athletics: Melvin is undecided on his rotation for the series against the Twins after Monday’s game was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns involving some of the Minnesota players. A doubleheader is scheduled for Tuesday pending further testing.