Athletics rally from five-run deficit to defeat Tigers

DETROIT (AP) -- A pitcher's dream turned into a nightmare.

The Detroit Tigers gave Zach Miner a five-run lead in the first,

Mark Kotsay's three-run homer the next inning helped Oakland erase

the deficit and the Athletics added four runs later in a 9-5

victory Saturday.

Elias Says

Joe Blanton improved his record to 10-8 in the Athletics' 9-5 win at Detroit despite surrendering five runs in the first inning. That marked the third time this season that a big-league starting pitcher has won a game after allowing at least five runs in the first inning; Washington's Livan Hernandez gave up five first-inning runs on April 8 but stayed on to win at Houston, 12-8; and Mark Buehrle of the White Sox gave up seven runs in the first inning to the Twins on May 14, but eventually received credit for Chicago's 9-7 victory.

This is the first year since 1949 in which at least three starting pitchers have earned victories after allowing five-or-more runs in the first inning. In that season, Detroit's Hal Newhouser and Brooklyn's Ralph Branca joined Dick Fowler and Carl Scheib in winning games in that manner; the latter two both pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics.

Our favorite victory by a starting pitcher who had allowed five runs in the first inning was turned in by Allen Sothoron of the St. Louis Browns in 1919. He allowed five runs to the Indians in the top of the first, but righted himself and pitched all 14 innings in an eventual 6-5 win by St. Louis.

Oakland's win was its first this season in a game in which it had trailed by five-or-more runs, and it was the first game that Detroit has lost after leading by four-or-more runs.

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"I looked up at the scoreboard after that -- I pretty much

wanted to kick myself in the head," Miner said.

Milton Bradley and Marco Scutaro each added homers and Joe Blanton overcame a rough start for the A's, who maintained their

slim lead over Texas in the AL West. They went ahead 6-5 in the

fifth on Mark Ellis' second sacrifice fly.

"We had a chance to get buried, but Blanton bowed his neck,"

Oakland manager Ken Macha said.

The A's can win their third straight series on the road Sunday,

and win the season series against Detroit.

The Tigers lost for the first time in four games, but still have

the best record in the majors and a comfortable lead over the

Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

"We're not going to win every day," Tigers manager Jim Leyland

said. "I'll have a nice dinner tonight. I'm going to relax and

enjoy it because they did everything a manager could ask for. They

gave us a nice win last night, they came out today ready to play."

The Tigers got off to a great start with five runs in the first

inning, three on Carlos Guillen's double. Then, Blanton and

Oakland's defense shut down the Tigers.

Blanton (10-8) gave up five runs and nine hits over five


"When we got the five runs, I just tried to keep it there," he

said. "They got some pretty good swings early in the game on good


Brad Halsey entered in the sixth and got out of a two-on,

one-out jam with a strikeout and flyout. After striking out Curtis

Granderson to start the seventh, he was replaced by Kiko Calero,

who gave up two singles before getting an out. Justin Duchscherer

ended the inning by getting Guillen to line out to right. Huston Street pitched the ninth.

"What the bullpen did was get big outs when we needed it,"

Macha said.

Many of Detroit's 14 hits were negated by Oakland's defense,

which turned three double plays, including one on Kotsay's throw to

second when Placido Polanco tried to advance on a fly in the fifth.

"They got timely hitting, and we didn't," Tigers catcher Vance Wilson said.

Miner gave up five runs -- all in the second, wasting a 5-0 lead

-- and seven hits over 2 1/3 innings, easily the rookie's shortest

outing. He gave up five runs in his previous start, a loss to

Kansas City after winning six straight games.

"I'm assuming that he'll make his next start," Leyland said.

Wilfredo Ledezma (1-1) gave up three runs, three hits and four

walks over 4 2/3 innings. He had five strikeouts.

Bradley, who is hitting nearly .500 since coming off the

disabled list July 12, put the A's ahead 8-5 with a 436-foot shot

to left in the sixth.

Scutaro's solo homer in the eighth, which gave the A's a 9-5

lead, came on Roman Colon's first pitch.

The Tigers jumped ahead in the first with four singles,

including Magglio Ordonez's RBI, and Guillen's three-run double

before Blanton got an out. Brandon Inge's sacrifice fly made it


Oakland led off the second with three singles and Ellis'

sacrifice fly brought home its first run. Jason Kendall had an RBI

single and Kotsay followed with his game-tying, three-run homer.

"I think the team showed a lot of heart and a lot of

character," Kotsay said. "We didn't bow our heads going in

against a good ballclub."

Game notes
Detroit DH Dmitri Young was 1-for-4 in his second game back

with the team after being on the DL since May 22 with a leg injury

and personal issues, including treatment for substance abuse. ...

A's SS Bobby Crosby, who left Friday's game with a sore back, did

not play and might miss Sunday's game. ... Tigers LF Craig Monroe

returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game with a hamstring

injury. He went 2-for-5 with a run scored. ... Detroit 2B Placido

Polanco had four hits, matching a season high.