Cespedes' homer gives Tigers series win over A's
OAKLAND -- Tigers slugger Yoenis Cespedes blasted a three-run home run at his old stomping grounds Wednesday afternoon, leading Detroit to a series-winning 3-2 victory over his former A's club at the Coliseum.
Cespedes, traded by the A's to the Red Sox at the Trade Deadline last summer, made them pay for intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera in front of him, launching a 3-2 changeup from reliever Dan Otero to left field with two outs in the fifth.
"I was confident I was going to do something," Cespedes said. "But not necessarily hit a home run. I still have a lot of affection for that team, but I play for this team now and I want to win."
"Every time we play the Tigers, we don't let Cabrera beat us," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Whether it's Victor Martinez, in a 0-0 game, doesn't mean it's an easy matchup afterward, but it's the lesser of two evils."
A's starter Scott Kazmir was around for only three innings, before exiting with left shoulder tightness. Stephen Vogt and Marcus Semien both tripled and scored for the A's, who fell to 2-15 in one-run games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Setting the table: Ian Kinsler doubled moments after the A's turned a double play against the Tigers in the fifth. That ended an 0-for-22 streak for the infielder and forced the A's to intentionally walk Cabrera, setting the table for Cespedes, who was moved up a spot in the order for the game. "I felt like Cespedes would be better protection for Miggy today," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said before the game. It was just the second time Cespedes hit fourth this year.
Kazmir injured: Kazmir's shoulder ailment is potentially worrisome for an A's club that's already battled several injuries this season. The left-hander has a history of shoulder issues -- though not recently, having made 70 starts without a DL interruption since returning to the big leagues with Cleveland in 2013. On Wednesday, Kazmir walked three, struck out four and didn't allow a hit before departing in favor of Otero. More >
The unsung hero: Alex Wilson found out on the bus ride to the ballpark Wednesday that he would be starting the game. He delivered a gem over his three innings of work to allow Kyle Ryan a chance to get acclimated after his arrival in Oakland less than an hour before the game. In his first Major League start, Wilson faced the minimum nine batters, walking Josh Reddick in the first, whom he then picked off, and striking out one.
"I just treated it the same way," Wilson said. "I waited for the game to start before I went down to warm up. It felt like a long relief outing for me."
Welcome back: A's lefty Sean Doolittle, who missed the club's first 48 games while rehabbing a shoulder injury, made his season debut in the sixth inning, striking out two and allowing one hit in the 13-pitch frame. Doolittle hit 90 mph once but mostly averaged 89 mph with his fastball. The southpaw, who in past seasons has averaged 94-96 mph, has said his velocity will return with time.
"I think that will give me some confidence moving forward, not having to worry about what the radar gun says and know that I can pitch a little bit now," said Doolittle. "To have those other options to go to, I think it takes a lot of the pressure off." More >
"It was just a normal night for me. I charted pitches and thought I'd be pitching Thursday. Then I got a call, which I ignored at first because I did not recognize the number. I listened to the message, called back and they told me I was coming up and my flight was leaving at 6 a.m. I didn't get any sleep that night, maybe three hours on the plane. I sort of rushed it through the airport." -- Ryan, on the last 20 hours.
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Both WIlson and Kazmir departed the game without allowing a hit, the first time both starters left with a no-hitter after recording at least nine outs since 2013 and just the fourth time since 1914.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The fifth inning looked like it might turn into a disaster for the Tigers. Anthony Gose walked to lead off the frame and was then tagged out attempting to steal second base on Rajai Davis' strikeout.
Second-base umpire Mark Ripperger called Gose out on the play, judging that A's infielder Eric Sogard, who had to leap for the errant throw from Vogt, tagged Gose on the back.
Ausmus challenged the call and after a more than two-minute review, it was upheld. The Tigers have made nine challenges, of which four have been overturned.
Tigers: Right-hander Buck Farmer (0-0, 0.00) gets the start Thursday night in the first of a four-game set on the road against the Angels at 10:05 p.m. ET. Farmer replaces the injured Kyle Lobstein (sore shoulder) in the rotation.
Athletics: The A's will host the Yankees at the Coliseum for four games beginning Thursday, with right-hander Kendall Graveman (2-2, 6.04 ERA) set to start the series opener. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
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