DETROIT (AP) — Seth Smith homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and the Oakland Athletics avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-4 Thursday in a matchup of AL playoff contenders.
Both teams began the day in second place in their divisions, and Oakland held an edge in the wild-card race. The Tigers fell 2½ games behind the Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who played later at Kansas City.
Outscored 18-4 in the first two games, Oakland held down Miguel Cabrera to win the finale. Cabrera singled in four at-bats, and tops the AL in batting at .333.
Josh Donaldson hit a go-ahead single in a four-run sixth inning that made it 6-3, then hit an RBI double to cap a six-run ninth that included Smith’s three-run double.
Pat Neshek (2-1) retired the only batter he faced and got the win.
Anibal Sanchez (3-6), who held Cleveland hitless for 6 2-3 innings in his last start, gave up six runs on six hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings.
Smith hit his 14th homer, a solo shot in the fifth that made it 2-all. The Tigers retook the lead in the bottom half when Cabrera singled and scored on Prince Fielder’s double.
The A’s went ahead for good in the sixth. Brandon Moss hit a tying double with one out and after Chris Carter struck out and Smith was walked intentionally, Donaldson singled.
Phil Coke relieved and George Kottaras hit a liner that center fielder Austin Jackson misjudged, the ball sailing over his head for a two-run triple.
Andy Dirks led off the Detroit sixth with a home run off Jerry Blevins.
Yoenis Cespedes hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to start Oakland’s scoring in the ninth.
The Tigers threatened in the first against Tommy Milone, loading the bases before Delmon Young grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Detroit broke through in the second to take a 2-0 lead on Gerald Laird’s RBI single and Jackson’s sacrifice fly.
Second baseman Omar Infante’s throwing error on an attempted double play gave the A’s a run in the third. It was his 10th error in 51 games since being acquired from Miami, along with Sanchez, on July 24.
NOTE: Detroit C Alex Avila is no longer having headaches, according to manager Jim Leyland. Avila sprained his jaw when he collided with Fielder chasing a foul ball on Sunday. … Cespedes was the designated hitter because of a bone bruise on the bottom of the outfielder’s foot that has lingered for the last few days. … Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp missed his second game because of an eye allergy . The Athletics travel to New York for a three-game weekend series. Jarrod Parker faces CC Sabathia on Friday night. … Rick Porcello and the Tigers host Samuel Dedundo and Minnesota on Friday night.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)