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Fiers delivers bounce-back start in loss to A's

Tigers' defense aids right-hander with spectacular catches
MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Tigers couldn't find a way to cure their ills in a 3-0 loss to the A's on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Right-hander Mike Fiers (5-5) delivered a strong bounce-back outing after struggling through his previous two starts. Fiers got back to his comfort zone in his home park, where he entered with a 3.51 ERA, as opposed to 5.12 on the road. He threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out five.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers couldn't find a way to cure their ills in a 3-0 loss to the A's on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Right-hander Mike Fiers (5-5) delivered a strong bounce-back outing after struggling through his previous two starts. Fiers got back to his comfort zone in his home park, where he entered with a 3.51 ERA, as opposed to 5.12 on the road. He threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out five.

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"He was outstanding," said Tigers bench coach Steve Liddle, who assumed the managerial duties when Ron Gardenhire was ejected early in the game. "He did exactly what we needed."

Perhaps the only thing the Tigers need as much as a win right now is starters who can go deeper into games in order to rest a bullpen that has become increasingly taxed during this eight-game losing streak. And with the dismissal of pitching coach Chris Bosio prior to the game, there were even more questions about how the starters could deliver in the midst of a transition on the coaching staff.

"Obviously when you lose anyone on your team, you're kind of thinking about it," Fiers said. "But I honestly don't even know what happened. Got here a little later today because I was starting. I'm sure I'll find out about it here pretty soon. But I didn't want to think about it too much. I had to focus on my game and go from there."

The only blemish to Fiers' line was an RBI double by Jed Lowrie in the fourth inning.

The Tigers' defense was also on point with spectacular plays by outfielders JaCoby Jones and Leonys Martin. With a runner on in the second, Jones robbed Matt Olson of a potential two-run home run in left. Martin made the final out of the sixth inning by sprinting to the warning track and catching a ball that had a hit probability of 92 percent, according to Statcast™. He then made an almost identical catch for the first out of the seventh.

Video: OAK@DET: Martin snags Piscotty's 417-foot drive to CF

"These guys playing defense behind me really allowed me to get to the seventh inning," Fiers said. "It says one run, but it could've been a lot worse. Leo, [Jeimer Candelario], everyone chipped in and kept it pretty close. Just trying to keep the ball in the yard. JaCoby robbing a homer, taking one away. Good defense around the field today."

Josh Phegley and Dustin Fowler added tack-on runs with doubles off Tigers reliever Alex Wilson in the ninth.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
A's starter Chris Bassitt went six strong innings and allowed only two hits. The Tigers' best scoring chance against him was when they loaded the bases in the third inning, following two two-out walks to Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez, but Niko Goodrum struck out on a 2-2 pitch.

Video: OAK@DET: Bassitt gives up just 2 hits over 6 innings

The Tigers left a total of seven runners on base and have now gone 14 scoreless innings since holding a 7-3 lead in the fourth inning of Tuesday night's loss to the A's.

SOUND SMART
Though Castellanos' multi-hit streak ended at three games, he did record a double in the first inning to give him an extra-base hit in four consecutive games. During that stretch, Castellanos is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with four doubles and a home run.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
One night after the Tigers were partly derailed by defensive miscues, Jones provided a highlight reel grab in the second inning to deny Olson. Jones got to the wall and perfectly timed his leap to make the catch, which was made even more difficult with a soft rain falling.

Video: OAK@DET: Jones takes a home run away from Olson

"I knew the wind was blowing out, and he hit it pretty good," Jones said. "He got it up in the air, and I was just running to the wall, getting my placement and picking up the ball after that. It was still carrying, and once it got close, I knew it was going to have to jump to catch it. So that's what I did."

UP NEXT
Right-hander Michael Fulmer (3-6, 4.17 ERA) will be on the mound as the Tigers wrap up their series with the A's at 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday at Comerica Park. Fulmer will be working on seven days' rest after being hurt by the long ball in his previous start against the Reds. Oakland counters with lefty Sean Manaea (7-6, 3.40), who is 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA in four June starts. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Detroit Tigers, Mike Fiers