Oakland, Calif. — A three-pitch span made all the difference Saturday night for Jordan Zimmermann and the Detroit Tigers.
Khris Davis hadn’t hit a home run in three days, an eternity for the Athletics slugger considering the roll he’s been on since the All-Star break.
Matt Chapman’s drought was a little longer but not by much.
The two went deep against Zimmermann over a three-pitch span in the third inning, providing the offense in Oakland’s 2-1 win over the Tigers.
“He is a freak,” Chapman said of Davis. “People haven’t even seen what he’s fully capable of. He’s starting to hit for higher average. He’s come into his own. He’s just right in his prime years.”
“Usually solo homers don’t hurt you,” Zimmermann said. “Unfortunately I gave up two in one inning so it’s like a two-run homer. I’ve just got to keep the ball in the yard.”
Zimmermann (4-4) allowed six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is winless in his last four starts.
Davis’ home run was his 30th and ninth since the All-Star break. He became the first A’s player with 30 or more in three consecutive seasons since Miguel Tejada did it from 2000-02.
“There’s certain years that it’s tougher than others to hit home runs here, especially at night, and it doesn’t seem to affect him at all,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s the perfect guy for this ballpark and this team.”
Former Tiger Edwin Jackson pitched into the seventh inning, allowing an unearned run on five hits. Jackson struck out three and walked one to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
Marcus Semien added two hits while rookie center fielder Ramon Laureano, who had the winning single in the 13th inning Friday, made a pair of defensive gems after being a late addition to Oakland’s lineup.
Jeimer Candelario had two hits and drove in the Tigers’ only run in the first.
The A’s had six hits and stranded five runners in scoring position but remained unbeaten against the Tigers.
They also improved to 11-4 since the All-Star break, the best mark in the majors.
“It’s a good streak we’ve got going,” Davis said. “We’re just looking to do the small things right, play the game the right way and things are clicking and good things are happening. We just have to keep riding this wave out.”
Chapman hit his 14th leading off, extending his on-base streak to a career-best 20 games. Two batters later, Davis added another milestone home run.
Jackson (3-2) and two relievers made it hold up.
Jackson, who earned his 100th career victory in his last start, got a pair of double plays to get out of jams in the second and third. He also got help from Laureano, who a night earlier won the game with his first major league hit.
Laureano missed a diving catch in the fifth but threw out Mike Gerber, who overslid second base, then made a sliding catch on Candelario’s sinking liner in the seventh.
Lou Trivino retired five batters and Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 28th save.
“It’s the games like this that are going to make or break a season for a team,” Jackson said. “It’s not necessarily the blowouts. It’s how many one-run games can you win.”
Tigers starters had gone 19 consecutive scoreless innings before Zimmermann allowed Chapman’s home run.
Oakland has won 11 straight against Detroit, tying the franchise’s longest streak over the Tigers set in 1902.