Detroit — This is how losing streaks can turn into ugly streaks.
Nick Castellanos in the seventh inning Monday hammered a three-run homer into the right-field seats that turned a 1-1 duel between the Tigers and A’s into a 4-1 Tigers' lead and seemingly an end to Detroit’s five-game nosedive.
But two pitchers the Tigers tend to trust in the final frames, Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene, together got whacked for four late A’s runs that were just enough to hand Oakland a 5-4 triumph over the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Jimenez had not allowed a run since May 31. But after extinguishing a late seventh-inning A’s blaze, Jimenez returned for the eighth and for what Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire and a crowd of 19,127 anticipated would be another wipe-out inning for Jimenez.
The A’s instead got him for three runs on a hit batter, a bloop single, and a pair of doubles, the last of which was a crushed, two-run drive up the left-center field gap by No. 9 hitter Franklin Barreto.
That turned a 4-1 stroll into a tie game, which quickly was untied when Greene saw a down-and-in cutter disappear over the right-field wall courtesy of A’s slugger Jed Lowrie.
The Tigers had gotten enough early from Jordan Zimmermann (five innings, four hits, no runs), and just enough from their strained offense, to take a 1-0 lead that held until the seventh when Stephen Piscotty sent a Louis Coleman pitch down the left-field line and into the seats to make it 1-1.
The Tigers scored first when Castellanos led off the fourth with a double to left-center, then scored on John Hicks’ single to left.
But they missed a handful of chances to balloon their 1-0 lead. They left a runner at third base with two gone in the second; left runners at third and second base with one out in the sixth when JaCoby Jones struck out and Grayson Greiner grounder out; then wasted runners at third and second with two gone in the eighth, with the ground-rule double law costing them a run.
It happened when, with Jose Iglesias at first and one gone, Leonys Martin drove a pitch to the center-field warning track and into the hedges. It would have been an easy RBI triple for Martin. But it instead left him blockaded at second, and Iglesias at first.
Niko Goodrum had a chance to score Iglesias, but he instead chopped a grounder to Lowrie as the A’s pulled in their infield.
It was one of a slew of missed chances Monday as the Tigers’ skid hit six games.