Friday: Oakland 5, Detroit 4 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Saturday: Oakland 6, Detroit 0 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Sunday: Detroit 10, Oakland 2 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
Monday: Oakland 4, Detroit 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 28-24
The A's surprised me quite a bit by taking three out of four from the Tigers in Detroit. Coming into the series, the Tigers were 14-6 at home while the A's were 7-14 on the road. On the backs of Ben Sheets, Brett Anderson, and Trevor Cahill, the A's have jumped into first place, a full game ahead of Texas.
The weekend started off with the most exciting game of the series, with the A's breaking a 3-3 tie in the ninth to open the series with a win. Ben Sheets went 7 strong innings, giving up three runs on five hits and one walk. He allowed two homers, two to Miguel Cabrera who homered for a third time against Andrew Bailey in the ninth, and struck out 6. The A's were a bit lucky to eke out the victory, as their two-run, ninth inning rally had included only one hit that left the infield. With one out, Adam Rosales doubled to right, Ryan Sweeney was intentionally walked, Mark Ellis was hit by a pitch, Gabe Gross hit an RBI infield single, and Landon Powell hit a sac fly. Credit the A's pitching staff for the win in this one, who managed to hold the Tigers to four runs despite Cabrera's three homers. Non-Cabrera Tigers went 4-29 with one walk.
On Saturday, Brett Anderson, Brad Ziegler, and Craig Breslow shut the Cabrera and the other Tigers out, allowing just five hits and no walks. Anderson, returning from the DL, looked very sharp, as he struck out 4 in 5.2 innings. Mark Ellis provided the bulk of the offense, going 3 for 4 with a homer and 4 RBI.
The Tigers wasted their run allotment for the weekend on Sunday, pasting the A's 10-2 in a game where the A's seemingly had no chance all day. Max Scherzer, recently recalled from AAA, completely dominated the A's hitters, striking out 14. As Joe Pawlikowski pointed out, only five A's made contact against Scherzer, the rest either struck out, walked, or got hit by a pitch. Neither Dallas Braden nor Vin Mazzaro pitched well and the A's made two errors. Let's just move on...
The A's walked away with the series victory thanks to Trevor Cahill's arm and Rajai Davis' legs. Cahill shook off the fact that the start of the game was delayed a couple of hours to pitch 6.1 strong innings. His control was less than ideal, as he walked 4 and only struck out 3, but he got the job done, getting seven ground balls and not allowing a homer. Davis capped off a very strong May, going 2 for 4 with 2 runs and 2 steals. He finished the month with a .314/.355/.395 line. Those numbers, combined with 12 steals in 14 attempts, made him one of the A's strongest performers for the month.
There's a lot to like about the A's performance against the Tigers. The pitching continued to be (mostly) strong and the A's offense showed promise. Mark Ellis looks to be 100% healthy, which will allow Cliff Pennington some rest, and Davis is showing that his lousy start to the season is behind him. The A's are now guaranteed at least a .500 road trip, which is all I would have asked for a week ago.