DETROIT (AP) — Matt Chapman made plays with his bat, glove and arm to lift the Oakland Athletics to their latest win in a push to make the playoffs.
Chapman hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the third inning, cleared the fences again in the ninth and turned a key double play to help the A’s beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3 Tuesday night.
“He looks great,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s driving the ball and it’s just as noticeable defensively.”
Mark Canha also homered as Oakland, vying for a wild card, won its third straight after losing six in a row.
Deolis Guerra (3-1) pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings after Cole Irvin started and lasted just 4 2-3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks, including one to Miguel Cabrera that ended his outing.
“I wanted him to get through the inning, but after the walk to Miggy, one swing of the bat ties it up,” Melvin said.
The Tigers have lost four consecutive games, scoring a total of eight runs in those setbacks.
Tarik Skubal (8-12) was roughed up, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings.
“I don’t think I threw a curveball near the strike zone,” he said. “The way I competed, I’m not proud.”
Skubal broke a team rookie record when he got Chapman out swinging in the second for his 147th strikeout this season, but that mark was of little consolation in the series opener.
“That’s cool, but I don’t play this game for records,” he said. “I play this game to win and I didn’t put our team in a position to win.”
Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the first when Robbie Grossman hit his team-leading 20th homer, shortly after being honored as the team’s annual winner of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s Heart and Hustle Award.
The A’s got three runs in the third on a homer and two doubles, with coring Starling Marte on Matt Olson’s opposite-field hit down the line in letf.
Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Willi Castro hit into an inning-ending double play to Chapman, who fielded the ball, stepped on third and threw a rope across the diamond.
“He’s an elite player,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
The A’s then pulled away with three more runs in the fifth, taking a 6-1 lead on Canha’s two-run homer.
Dustin Garneau and Derek Hill hit solo homers in the fifth, but the Tigers stranded two runners when Jeimer Candelario lined out off Guerra.
Chapman’s second homer of the game was his 23rd of the season.
HAIL TO THE CHAMPS
Taylor North, the Little League World Series champions, was invited by the Tigers to watch batting practice and to meet and mingle with players such as Cabrera.
The team, Michigan’s first LLWS champion since 1959, was given a warm ovation from the sparse crowd before the game and each player was presented with a Detroit jersey by the Tigers before the game.
Athletics: DH Mitch Moreland (left wrist) went on the injured list and OF Skye Bolt was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Tigers: LHP Miguel Del Pozo needed five stitches, but does not have a concussion, after getting hit on the chin by a line drive Monday.
HE SAID IT
“I think he’s hit about 200 of those against us,” said Melvin, reflecting on Cabrera recently hitting his 500th career homer run. “We’ve seen plenty of home runs from Miggy. I will send a message over to congratulate him. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit over the years. He’s a pretty fun guy.”
Melvin said the A’s have “narrowed it down” but Oakland hadn’t finalized its callups for Wednesday. Khris Davis, who signed a minor league contract to rejoin his old team that traded him to Texas in February, has been slugging away at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Oakland plans to put RHP James Kaprielian (7-4) on the mound Wednesday night while Detroit expects RHP Wily Peralta (3-3) to return from a finger blister that put him on the 10-day injured list.