DETROIT, Michigan -- Five different players for the Detroit Tigers drove in runs to lead the team to a 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
The Athletics (11-12) struck the board in the top of the third inning for a 1-0 lead off an RBI single by Josh Reddick. Little did Oakland know the Tigers were just getting ready to roar.
In the bottom of the third inning, Ian Kinsler doubled in Anthony Gose, Miguel Cabrera picked up an RBI single, J.D. Martinez knocked a sacrifice fly and Nick Castellanos doubled in Cabrera for a 4-1 lead in favor of Detroit.
Steven Vogt hit his third home run of the season to cut the Athletics deficit to two runs. The hit went over the right field fence in the top of the fourth inning off of Anibal Sanchez.
Sanchez (3-2, 6.08 ERA) toed the slab for the Tigers (11-10) and struggled, but somehow managed to get the win on Thursday. The right-handed pitcher allowed two runs across 5.2 innings pitched even though he walked seven batters, which is the most for Sanchez since September 28, 2009. He struck out nine batters in the outing against Oakland and threw 114 pitches.
"I just tried to do my back turn to throw more innings," he said. "The mechanics I was trying early in the year didn't feel comfortable. This felt comfortable. I know it was a lot of balls, but it is the first time since last year."
The last time a Tigers starting pitcher allowed at least seven walks and struck out at last nine hitters in the same game was Jack Morris on April 14, 1988.
Following the home run by Vogt, the Tigers came back with a home run of their own off starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. An unlikely player, Gose, hit a deep home run to right field to plate himself and Jose Iglesias. Due to the two-run shot, the Tigers reclaimed a 6-2 lead. Justin Upton followed with a single to score Kinsler in that same inning to put the Tigers ahead by five runs.
Bassitt (0-2, 6.11 ERA) gave up seven runs on 10 walks across 3.2 innings of work on Thursday. For the record, the bullpen of Fernando Rodriguez, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madison only allowed a combined one walk and two walks during the final 4.1 innings.
"I grew up pitching in this, and I played college ball in this," Bassitt said about the 45-degree weather. "Heck, in high school up here, you are pitching in snow half of the time."
After the game, Athletics manager Bob Melvin told the media that the team might get Bassitt "checked out" due to his extreme drop in velocity. During the game, the starters fastball was around 92 miles per hour. However, Bassitt claimed he was and still is physically fine.
Oakland scored for the final time in the game as Khris Davis drove in Billy Burns with the line drive single to right field. Francisco Rodriguez came in for a one-out save and got the job done to secure the 7-3 victory for Detroit. The ninth inning RBI was too little and too late for the Athletics.
Gose finished the game 2-for-4 with a two-run home run, a double, and two runs scored to lead the Tigers over the Athletics. He will continue to get maximum playing time until Cameron Maybin becomes fully healthy to make his season debut. Burns led the way for Oakland, going 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and two stolen bases.
Michael Fulmer will make his Major League Baseball debut on Friday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The 23-year-old will be opposed by Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91 ERA). The Athletics will battle the Houston Astros on Friday night.