A’s beat Tigers to finish suspended game; Detroit takes regularly scheduled matchup in 11 innings
Oakland, Calif. — Even the managers were perplexed by all the quirky details of a game that began nearly four months ago and finished in a different ballpark way out West.
Chad Pinder homered, Mike Fiers earned his fourth victory or his 14th, however you want to look at it, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Friday night in a game that was suspended on May 19 because of the weather.
“There were a lot of oddities,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Then, the clubs played another one — and it went extra innings.
Willi Castro hit a go-ahead double in the top of the 11th as the Tigers rallied from a four-run deficit to snap Oakland’s three-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory in the regularly scheduled matchup.
Christin Stewart hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Tigers, and John Schreiber (1-0) recorded two outs in the 10th for his first major league win.
“We’ve just played horrendous at home. We’ve played well on the road and don’t ask me why, I don’t know how,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I don’t understand why we’re not doing this at home.”
Paul Blackburn (0-2) got the loss.
Liam Hendriks pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the earlier May 19 finish, and then another perfect inning with a pair of Ks later.
Fiers (14-3) is unbeaten over 21 starts dating to his no-hitter May 7. He allowed three runs and four hits over six innings.
Oakland reliever Jake Diekman will have two appearances on May 19 with two different clubs: He actually pitched one inning for the Royals in Anaheim on May 19, and then got into the game Friday for Oakland with the stats credited to May 19.
It took 39 minutes to finish the 2-hour, 58-minute game more than half a country away. Not many fans made it early on a Friday.
“It almost felt like a Legion game because when we went out there there was nobody there,” Melvin said.
The victory gave the A’s their first 11-game winning streak since winning 20 straight in 2002 and the longest in the majors this season. If the A’s hadn’t been able to hold on, it would have counted as a seven-game winning streak. Oakland also will be credited for an eight-game road winning streak from May 16-June 4.
Pinder connected for a two-run drive — the A’s hadn’t cleared the fences yet on May 19 — to give Oakland a streak of 17 straight games with a homer, matching the sixth-longest such streak in A’s history. Pinder technically homered in his third straight game, from May 17-19 against the Tigers.
Stephen Piscotty had three hits, not playing at all Friday as he’s on the injured list.
And in another strange twist, September call-ups were eligible but their stats go back to May when they were still in the minors — while not changing the day of their major league debuts.
There was no national anthem because that took place May 19 in Detroit.
Melvin called Gardenhire ahead of time to discuss details of the game since neither had been part of this exact situation before — and they also met with the umpires for guidance.
“It’s not unprecedented, but it is different,” Gardenhire said.
Yes, it sure was. While Hendriks struck out Jordy Mercer leading off the bottom of the seventh, the K will actually go to Josh Harrison considering he was supposed to be batting but got released by the Tigers last month.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” Melvin said. “I would prefer it doesn’t happen again at some point.”
Detroit wore its road uniforms for both games. Yet the A’s made the Tigers feel plenty welcome for this wacky start — well, finish — to a weekend series.
The in-park electronic ribbon logos below the second deck read “WELCOME TO COMERICA PARK!” with THE COLISEUM crossed out in yellow. Detroit’s logo was the main one on the scoreboard, too, with another Welcome to Comerica Park greeting.
The A’s were thrilled to see right-hander Edwin Jackson again now that he’s on the Tigers. The well-traveled Jackson went 6-3 over 17 starts for Oakland last season as the club reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Jackson has kept in touch with Melvin.
“He did so much for this team. It’s always great to see him. He’s about as infectious a guy as you’ll ever see in a clubhouse,” Melvin said. “Just love the guy.”
Hearing of Melvin’s kind words, Jackson grinned and said, “I’m blessed.”
“I miss the boys,” he added.