'We fight the fight:' Tigers claw back to beat Athletics, 8-6

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Circle this one.

After four straight losses and falling behind 6-3 against a suddenly rampaging Oakland team that hadn’t lost a game in Comerica Park since 2016, the Tigers got off the mat, scored six runs over the final five innings and beat the Athletics 8-6 Wednesday night.

"I don't talk a lot about character wins," manager AJ Hinch said afterward. "But this is an example of a lot of things working for us. We did a lot of really good things. We chipped away. We bounced back from their big innings...

"There is so much to character wins when you are playing against a good team. We've played a boat load of close games and this is the result. We're going to fight the fight. That's been determined by this team a long time ago."

The Miguel Cabrera home run counter goes to 502 after Cabrera's two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Among the big moments for the Tigers in this one:

► Miguel Cabrera hadn’t homered at Comerica Park since Aug. 3. But he hit a two-run missile in the fourth inning — walloping a change-up 423 feet over the bullpens in left. The ball left his bat with an exit velocity of 112 mph. He singled in the go-ahead run in seventh.

That's 15 homers on the season for Cabrera, and 502 for his career. With his two hits, he passed Wahoo Sam Crawford for 34th on the all-time hits list with 2,963. It was also his team-leading 11th game-winning RBI.

► Akil Baddoo, coming out of a rough month of August (.200, 17 strikeouts), lined a solo home run in the fifth inning, his 11th of the season. He walked and scored in the seventh. It was his first walk in 13 games, 60 plate appearances. And then in the eighth he lined a two-out RBI single to left to give the Tigers a two-run cushion. 

"We've talked before about his maturity with runners in scoring position," said Hinch, who had talked to Baddoo before the game about locking back into his plate discipline. "He doesn't have to carry us, but he can spark us. We've seen that for a long time. It's September and he's been doing this since the first swing of his Major League career."

Baddoo saw 30 pitches in his five plate appearances, the most by a Tigers rookie in five plate appearances since Nick Castellanos saw 35 in a game in 2014. He homered on a 3-2 pitch after an eight-pitch at-bat, drew a walk against left-hander A.J. Puk and then singled in the run in the eighth with two strikes and two outs. 

"It's just knowing what I was looking for and keeping my approach and not losing sight of it during the at-bats," Baddoo said. 

► Harold Castro, who had an RBI single in the second inning, hit his first ever opposite-field home run at Comerica Park in the sixth inning. He also doubled and scored in the eighth, a three-hit night for Hittin' Harold. 

"Before the game, Matt Boyd and I were standing out in center field watching Harold hit homer after homer in batting practice," Hinch said. "I said, 'The guy can hit if he keeps hitting the ball in the air, but you watch, he's going to get up in the game and try to slap a single."

Sure enough, with the infield drawn in, Castro slapped a single to left to score a run.

"I said to Niko, 'I feel like I'm going to hit a homer today,' Castro said. "I was hitting the ball hard in BP, really hitting the ball hard. That's what I'm going to do this month. I want to charge early in my at-bats and to really drive the ball hard."

► The Tigers bullpen, specifically Joe Jimenez, Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto, finally subdued the hot-hitting Athletics bats. After tandem starters Wily Peralta and Jose Urena were tagged for six runs, the bullpen got the last nine outs in a row.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 8, Athletics 6

"Joe went through the middle of their order in the seventh, which was big," Hinch said. "Urena, too, pitching out of the bullpen for the first time. He had that rough inning, but he bounced back with a zero in the sixth when we needed to stretch the game."

The loss snaps the Athletics’ four-game winning streak, their seven-game winning streak against the Tigers and their 12-game winning streak at Comerica Park.

Tigers' Jeimer Candelario, right, congratulates Miguel Cabrera after Cabrera's two-run home run in the fourth inning.

Peralta's night was blunted by a 36-pitch, seven-batter fourth inning. Starling Marte started the inning by hitting an 82-mph slider, 436 feet into the shrubbery in center field.

Peralta walked Matt Olson and yielded an RBI double to Jed Lowrie.

At 71 pitches, Peralta was done after four innings. Hinch went to Urena, who started and threw 49 pitches on Saturday. The A’s greeted him rudely.

Matt Olson lined a two-run double over center fielder Derek Hill’s head. And Lowrie ripped his second RBI double. Former Tiger Josh Harrison, who produced three hits for the second straight night, started the rally with a single.

"But we never give up, we keep fighting with those pitchers," Castro said. "We always have the energy and the mentality to win the game, even when we are down." 

Twitter: @cmccosky