Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Zobrist continued the Detroit Tigers' recent misfortune by clubbing a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning that propelled the Oakland Athletics to a 5-3 win at Comerica Park.
The A's had been held scoreless by Alfredo Simon until Billy Burns singled in a run with the bases loaded during the tide-turning seventh. Zobrist then hammered the second pitch he saw from Angel Nesbitt over the wall in right to erase Oakland's 3-1 deficit and ultimately send the reeling Tigers to a season-high fifth straight loss.
Zobrist's blast made a winner out of Kendall Graveman (3-2) after the rookie gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings. Simon (5-3) was charged with four hard-luck runs over a 6 1/3-inning effort in which he surrendered just four hits.
Burns and Brett Lawrie each finished with two hits in Oakland's fourth victory in five games. Nick Castellanos went 2-for-3 with a two-run single for Detroit in defeat.
The A's had mustered just one hit off Simon, working for the first time in 11 days after missing a start due to the recent death of his father, until Lawrie singled with Oakland down 3-0 to begin the seventh. An infield hit from Marcus Semien and Eric Sogard's fielder's choice grounder, in which Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler threw home though Lawrie had only slightly drifted off third, soon loaded the bases with one out.
"It was just a complete reaction play," Kinsler said of his decision. "I had to pick up a tough hop and turn toward the outfield, and my first look was at second base, to see if I could get an out there, and I couldn't. And as I was continuing to move, to throw the ball to first, I saw (Lawrie) take three hard steps, and I just reacted to the play."
Burns followed with an RBI single that ended Simon's night right before Zobrist sent the A's in front with his sixth career slam.
"I didn't think it was going to clear, to be honest, when I hit it," Zobrist remarked.
Evan Scribner and Tyler Clippard made the lead hold up with three spotless innings in relief of Graveman, with the latter fanning two in the ninth to record his eighth save.
All of Detroit's runs came in the bottom of the fourth, which Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes began with back-to-back singles and Tyler Collins drew a walk to load the bases. After Graveman uncorked a pitch in the dirt to enable Cabrera to come home, Castellanos served a single into right-center field to knock in both remaining runners for a 3-0 Tigers' edge.
Simon walked a season-high five but didn't permit his first hit until Burns singled with one out in the fifth, though Oakland still had a couple of early chances against the right-hander. The best one came when Simon issued three straight two-out free passes in the fourth, but Semien's deep fly ball was hauled in at the track in right center to preserve the shutout bid.
Zobrist's slam was his first since July 15, 2011, when he connected off Boston's Andrew Miller while with Tampa Bay ... The Tigers had been 21-2 this season when leading after six innings ... Burns collected his fifth straight multi-hit game, having gone 10-for-23 with seven runs scored over the stretch ... Simon entered the game 3-0 with an 0.94 ERA in four home starts this season, and had walked one or less in four of his five previous assignments.