Justin Verlander ended the Oakland Athletics' season a year ago with a brilliant effort in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. He'll try to stop their nine-game winning streak on Saturday when the Detroit Tigers continue a three-game series against the Athletics at O.co Coliseum.
Verlander lost to the New York Yankees on Sunday, as he surrendered three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. He also walked a pair and struck out four to fall to 1-1 on the year to go along with a 2.19 ERA.
The former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, who tossed a four-hit shutout in the deciding game of last year's ALDS, is 7-5 lifetime against the A's with a 2.38 ERA in 13 starts.
Oakland, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive hurler of its own in lefty Brett Anderson, who is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA. Anderson defeated the Houston Astros on Sunday, scattering five hits, two unearned runs and struck out 10 over six innings.
He is 2-2 in four starts versus the Tigers with a 3.78 ERA.
Oakland extended its winning streak in dramatic fashion on Friday, as Josh Donaldson's opposite-field solo home run in the 12th inning lifted the A's to a 4-3 victory.
Ramon Santiago missed a home run by less than a foot in the top of the 12th, as his two-out line drive landed just under the yellow line on the extended scoreboard atop the left-field wall. Santiago legged out a triple for his effort, but Chris Resop (1-0) relieved Jerry Blevins and retired Austin Jackson on a routine flyout to center to strand him on third.
Brayan Villarreal (0-2) took the mound in the bottom half and struck out Chris Young before Donaldson took his 95 m.p.h. fastball over the wall in right field to send the A's fans home happy.
"It's nice just to help the team win," Donaldson said. "It was great to go out there and get a (win) tonight."
It's just the third time in Oakland history the A's have started the year with at least a 9-2 record. A win on Saturday would give the team their best start since opening the 1981 season with 11 straight wins. The A's also won 17 of 19 to begin that campaign.
Prince Fielder provided Detroit's offense with a three-run homer.
Detroit won four of its seven regular season matchups versus the A's last season.