OAKLAND, Calif. – For the second straight start, Oakland pitcher Gio Gonzalez didn't allow a run. This time, the Athletics' left-hander didn't have anything to show for it.
Gonzalez extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings but combined with Oakland's bullpen to walk a season-high 11 batters, leading to two of Detroit's three runs in a 3-0 loss to the Tigers on Thursday night.
"I felt like I was a little off. I felt like my arm slot dropped just a little bit," said Gonzalez, who struck out six while matching his career-high of six walks. "It was just one of those nights. Eleven walks? I was a big part of that. I just wish I could have attacked the zone more."
Gonzalez had walked only six batters total in his previous two starts and was Oakland's steadiest pitcher early before taking a no-decision against the Tigers. He also threw two wild pitches before being replaced by reliever Tyson Ross to start the seventh.
A 15-game winner for Oakland in 2010, Gonzalez pitched six shutout innings against the Tigers to lower his ERA to an impressive 0.47.
"If that's an off night, honestly I'll take it," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "His fastball was running a little bit more toward the outside of the plate than normal. Sometimes when your ball runs away from you, it's a good thing if you can command exactly what it's doing. But it was a little bit more than normal and so he was making adjustments as he went."
The A's didn't exactly help Gonzalez much offensively.
Detroit left-hander Phil Coke and two relievers combined on a three-hitter and Ryan Raburn hit a two-out RBI double in the seventh inning to break a scoreless tie.
Ramon Santiago had two hits and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth for Detroit. Manager Jim Leyland now needs one win to become the 19th manager in major league history to reach 1,500 for his career.
The Tigers managed only four hits, matching their season low, but held on behind Coke's second straight solid start after he opened the year in the bullpen. Coke, a Northern California native, pitched seven shutout innings and struck out two for his first victory of the season.
"Three hits," Geren lamented. "After the last couple of days I anticipated more. Today we really struggled. (Coke) had a decent sink and good changeup, and he seemed to mix his pitches well. There wasn't even really solid contact."
Conor Jackson singled twice for the A's, who were shut out for the first time this year.
The Tigers, who won their previous two games on walkoff hits, couldn't get anything going against Gonzalez but broke through after he departed.
Santiago greeted reliever Tyson Ross (1-1) with a sharp single to center and was sacrificed to second. After Casper Wells flew out to right, Raburn doubled hard off the wall in right-center. Santiago, who also singled in the fifth, scored easily.
That was all Coke (1-2) and Detroit's bullpen needed to slow down the surging A's.
Coke allowed only one Oakland runner past first base and retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced. Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth and Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his third save in as many chances.
After giving up Raburn's RBI double in the seventh, Ross walked the first two batters in the eighth. Jeremy Blevins replaced Ross and promptly walked Brandon Inge to load the bases, then fell behind 3-0 to Santiago.
Two pitches later, Santiago hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Jhonny Peralta. Oakland left fielder Josh Willingham threw to third base but no one was covering and the ball skipped into the A's dugout. Brennan Boesch, who was at second, was awarded two bases and scored to make it 3-0.
Overall, A's pitchers combined to issue a season-high 11 walks.
Notes: The A's got good news on two of their key relievers. Closer Andrew Bailey (forearm strain) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session without a setback while RHP Michael Wuertz (hamstring) felt fine after pitching a simulated inning. Both pitchers are on the disabled list but there is no word on when either might return. ... Oakland 2B Mark Ellis was awarded a triple for a ball he hit against Minnesota on April that was originally ruled an error. .. The A's are 1-4 in series-opening games this season.