Detroit, MI – Seth Smith's bases-clearing double highlighted a six-run ninth inning as the Oakland Athletics avoided a sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers thanks to a 12-4 decision in the finale of a three-game series.
Smith finished with three hits, including a solo homer, while Josh Donaldson and George Kottaras added two RBI each for the Athletics, who emphatically put the brakes on a three-game skid.
"The Angels beat us three in a row at our place, and we came back and returned the favor on them. So, we've been able to come up big when we need to and today was right along those lines," said Athletics manager Bob Melvin.
Pat Neshek (2-1) recorded the final out of the fifth to snag the win. He subbed for starter Tommy Milone, who allowed nine hits and three runs over 4 2/3 frames.
Gerald Laird, Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder knocked in runs, and Andy Dirks also homered for the Tigers, who remained two games behind first-place Chicago in the AL Central. Chicago lost at Kansas City on Thursday.
Anibal Sanchez (3-6) was charged with six hits and six runs -- five earned -- over 5 2/3 innings.
The Athletics cruised to victory thanks to their big final frame.
Kottaras got the ball rolling with a leadoff single off Octavio Dotel, then Cliff Pennington added a base hit and both runners moved up on Stephen Drew's groundout. Josh Reddick was intentionally walked to load the bases, then a Yoenis Cespedes fly to center plated Kottaras for a 7-4 contest.
Brandon Moss was intentionally walked and Drew Smyly entered, only to walk Daric Barton to force in a run and serve up Smith's three-run smash to right. Luke Putkonen was called on and allowed Donaldson's RBI double before a Kottaras grounder ended the inning.
"We won the first two and we got off to a good start today. Obviously we didn't get it, that's the way it is. Now we turn the page and start to scoreboard watch," noted Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Detroit picked up a pair of runs in the second on an RBI single from Laird followed by a sacrifice fly from Jackson.
Oakland countered in the third on Drew's fielder's choice grounder that scored Donaldson thanks to an Omar Infante throwing error. The A's tied it in the fifth when Smith began the frame with his 14th homer of the season.
Fielder's double in the fifth plated Miguel Cabrera to put the Tigers ahead, but Oakland pushed across four in the sixth to take a 6-3 edge on an RBI double from Moss, a run-scoring hit from Donaldson and a two-run triple from Kottaras.
Dirks got one back with a leadoff blast in the home portion.
Smith's four RBI was one off his season best, accomplished on July 27 at Baltimore ... The Tigers won the season series, 4-3, and improved their overall yearly slate mark to 2-0-2 against the Athletics since 2009 ... The A's struck out 32 times during the series (including 12 on Thursday) and now have fanned on 1,264 occasions for the season, which is an on-going Athletics franchise record (previous: 1226 in 2008)... Despite the setback, the Tigers have won 28 of the club's last 37 games at Comerica Park dating back to July 4.