Fulmer on fire as Tigers cruise past A's

Fulmer on fire as Tigers cruise past A's

OAKLAND -- Nick Castellanos homered, and Michael Fulmer held the A's to three hits across 7 2/3 innings to help the Tigers secure a 4-1 victory in Friday's series opener at the Coliseum.

It was the 10th homer of the season for Castellanos, who finished with two hits for the Tigers, winners of nine of their last 11 games to rise one game above the .500 mark at 24-23. Cameron Maybin and James McCann chipped in with run-scoring hits against A's starter Sean Manaea, who was on the hook for three runs on nine hits in six-plus innings.

Fulmer surrendered a two-out base hit to Khris Davis in the second inning but not another until the eighth, when Chris Coghlan and Coco Crisp notched back-to-back hits with two outs to force his exit. The right-hander fanned three, walked one and hit a batter in the win, his fourth of the season.

"When he's throwing his fastball and it's down he's going to get more ground balls," Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont said. "He got a little tired at the end but he's a good looking young pitcher."

Fulmer's superb start

Detroit tacked on a run in the ninth against righty Andrew Triggs, when Ian Kinsler singled for his third hit of the night -- falling a home run shy of the cycle -- and scored on J.D. Martinez's ensuing triple. Oakland's lone run came in the bottom half of the frame, with Jed Lowrie collecting an RBI triple against closer Francisco Rodriguez.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two-out time: 
After wasting a pair of opportunities in the second and third, the Tigers broke through and scored twice in the fourth with three consecutive two-out hits. Maybin's RBI double extended his hitting streak to 10 games since coming off the disabled list after missing the first six weeks with a fractured left wrist.

Maybin's RBI double

Offense MIA: The A's did little with their bats, stranding six men on base, and have plated just 23 runs total in their last eight games, for an average of 2.88 per game over that span. This woeful stretch coincides with Josh Reddick's absence. The right fielder was placed on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb May 20, and the A's have since dropped seven of eight.

"We've got pitched to pretty well," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "and we're also not taking advantage of some situations when we get some guys on and maybe missing a pitch or two an at-bat that you have a chance to do some damage with."

Get out of the way: Victor Martinez hit into a 3-2 double play in the fifth inning that was anything but ordinary. With Kinsler at third and one out, Martinez fouled out to first baseman Yonder Alonso, who turned and threw to home. Kinsler appeared to score when the ball skipped past A's catcher Stephen Vogt, but home-plate umpire Joe West ruled that Alonso's throw hit Martinez in the leg while he was walking back to the dugout and subsequently ruled Kinsler out. More >

A's turn two on interference

Manaea making strides: Manaea has pitched into the seventh inning in each of his last three starts after completing no more than five in his first three big league outings. The lefty has impressed by making continued improvements, evident in Friday's contest when he was able to wiggle his way out of a pair of early-inning jams.

"Seems like every time out he's feeling a little bit more comfortable," Melvin said.

"My slider was non-existent the first couple games and these past few games it's finally starting to come around," Manaea said. "Finding a comfortable grip for my changeup has been good for me. My fastball has kind of always been there. I'm just trying to execute a little better. I would say I'm starting to improve with each start."

Manaea fans J.D. Martinez

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Left-hander Matt Boyd is expected to be called up from Triple-A Toledo to start Saturday's 4:05 p.m. ET game at the Coliseum. Boyd is making a spot start in place of injured Jordan Zimmermann.

A's: Right-hander Jesse Hahn takes the mound in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. PT matchup with the Tigers at the Coliseum. Hahn is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in two starts since his return from Triple-A Nashville on May 17.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Tigers on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.