DETROIT – Oakland hopes it only lost a game in the Motor City.
Brett Anderson pitched just two-plus innings before leaving with a strained right oblique and the Detroit Tigers went on to beat the Athletics 6-2 on Wednesday night.
"He's getting an MRI right now," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "So, we won't know anything until he gets back."
After walking Miguel Cabrera intentionally and giving Prince Fielder a free pass on four pitches to load the bases, Anderson was injured while pitching to Delmon Young. Anderson fell forward and landed awkwardly after throwing his 48th pitch. Oakland trainer Nick Paparesta and Melvin talked with Anderson briefly on the field before deciding to take him out of the game.
"We could see earlier in the inning that he was trying to stretch out his back, so I don't think the fall had anything to do with it," Melvin said. "We just checked him at that point and decided we didn't want to go any farther with him."
Melvin plans to pitch Dan Strally in Anderson's spot in the rotation if he can't make his next start.
Oakland, clinging to an AL wild-card spot, has dropped three straight.
"You are never going to just speed through a pennant race and win everything," Melvin said.
Cabrera homered, Omar Infante drove in three runs and Justin Verlander pitched six scoreless innings for the Tigers.
Anderson (4-2) gave up three runs and three hits, losing his second straight start after winning his first four this season.
Verlander (15-8) allowed five hits and three walks while striking out five in a 122-pitch outing.
"You know that he's out there trying to go all nine, and your only chance to get his pitch count up," infielder Brandon Moss said. "The problem is that he's still one of the best pitchers in baseball, so even if you get runners on base, you have to find a way to get them in."
The Tigers have won two straight over the A's — and 28 of their last 36 games at home — to pull within two games of AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
"We played a couple good games against one of the hottest teams in all of baseball," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "That's pretty good."
Detroit's Octavio Dotel struck out two in a perfect seventh. Joaquin Benoit had two strikeouts in the eighth. Jose Valverde closed the game in a non-save situation, entering with a six-run lead, and was booed after giving up two-out RBI singles to Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew.
The Tigers played some small ball to take a 3-0 lead in the third.
Andy Dirks and Gerald Laird started the inning with bunt singles and advanced on Austin Jackson's groundout. Infante followed with a double down the left-field line to put Detroit up 2-0.
Right-hander Pat Neshek replaced Anderson and Young promptly hit a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta had an error in the fifth — snapping a 75-game errorless streak — but he helped turn a double play to end the inning. He chipped in at the plate in the home half, hitting an RBI single to put Detroit ahead 4-0.
Cabrera sent Jim Miller's 94 mph high fastball on an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left field for his 41st home run and 130th RBI to bolster his chances of being baseball's first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the feat in 1967.
Infante's groundout gave the Tigers a six-run lead in the eighth inning.
"We've lost back-to-back games before, this isn't a big deal," Moss said.
NOTES: A's OF Coco Crisp didn't play because of infections in both eyes and Melvin is hoping his contagious ailment doesn't spread. "He's got his own towels," Melvin said. ... Oakland 3B Brandon Inge, who the Tigers released in April, was in Oakland's dugout with his sons a week after having surgery on right shoulder to repair the labrum. "I'll be ready for spring," Inge said. ... Melvin said Travis Blackley will pitch Saturday at New York.