Butler, Davis fuel A's 17-hit attack in rout of Tigers
By Jane Lee and Michael Wagaman
OAKLAND -- The A's busted out of their offensive slump with a commanding 12-3 victory over the Tigers at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, highlighted by home runs from Billy Butler, Danny Valencia and Khris Davis, whose three-run shot in the seventh inning marked his 14th long ball of the season and 11th of the month.
The A's, who had averaged 2.9 runs per game in their previous eight contests, strung together a five-run sixth inning against Detroit's bullpen, getting a go-ahead, two-run single from Butler, who finished with three RBIs, and run-scoring hits from Marcus Semien and Coco Crisp to make a winner out of Jesse Hahn.
"It's momentum," Davis said. "When you're in an inning like that you just know what's going on and you just hunt for that blood and feed off it."
The right-handed Hahn allowed three runs on five hits, including a two-run homer to Victor Martinez, with four walks and five strikeouts. Lefty Matt Boyd, recalled from Triple-A Toledo for his first start of the season for the Tigers, fared well, but took a no-decision after allowing three runs on six hits -- two of them homers to Butler and Valencia -- and striking out seven.
"That's a good team win right there, and to do it the way we did it today was awesome," Hahn said. "Hopefully this is going to be a huge momentum carrier for us. We're pretty excited about it right now, and I think this is going to be the win that's going to kind of take off our season for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Should have stayed put:Ian Kinsler singled leading off the fourth and promptly stole second base with J.D. Martinez batting. Kinsler then stole third during the same at-bat and kept running for home when the pitch eluded A's catcher Josh Phegley. Phegley retrieved the ball and threw back to Hahn covering home plate, and Kinsler was tagged out easily.
"As a baserunner, sometimes you get tunnel vision like, 'I can score here, I can help my team,'" Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "If you ask him he'd probably [say] he wouldn't do it again."
Billy ball: Butler made just his 18th start on Saturday and capitalized with his biggest performance of the season despite entering the game riding a 3-for-22 stretch. His second-inning homer was his first in 30 games this year, marking the longest season-opening homerless streak of his career, and his three RBIs are a season high.
"For a guy that's not playing as much as he's used to playing, to be able to have this type of game, he's certainly going to go home in a good mood today, as he should," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Lost in the sun: Tigers center fielder Cameron Maybin nearly got hit by Jake Smolinski's fly ball that turned into a triple in the fifth. Maybin got a good break on the ball but lost it in the sun and tried to protect himself as the ball fell in. With Detroit forced to play the infield in, the next batter, Crisp, lined an RBI single to center.
Adding on: Even after collecting six hits in the sixth inning, the A's didn't back down in the seventh, tacking on five more to their total while continuing to get contributions from the entirety of their lineup -- a necessity on most days, particularly those without Josh Reddick, who is on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb. Every A's starter but Billy Burns notched at least one hit, with seven finishing with at least two.
"That's the type of lineup we need to be," Melvin said. "We have some guys in the middle of the order that can hit some homers, but if we're going to be successful, it has to be contributions like it was today. We're not going to score 12 every day, but we need everybody in our lineup." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey starts the series finale at the Coliseum on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. Pelfrey is winless in nine starts this season and has allowed 10 home runs in 27 innings after giving up 11 over 164 2/3 innings in 2015.
Athletics: Lefty Rich Hill, who is 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last four starts, is back on the mound Sunday against the Tigers for the series finale at 1:05 p.m. PT. Hill is 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 career appearances -- just one of them a start -- against Detroit.