OAKLAND -- Right-hander Michael Fulmer pitched the Tigers past the A's in Friday night's series opener, holding Oakland to two runs in eight innings of a 7-2 victory at the Coliseum.
Fulmer struck out a season-high nine batters and yielded eight hits, stranding eight A's baserunners. Last season's American League Rookie of the Year lowered his ERA to 2.77 with just one earned run allowed in the win, his third of the season.
"I felt good today," Fulmer said. "We worked on a few things in the bullpen between starts. I feel like I threw a few good sliders. It still needs a little bit more work, but overall just happy we can get this West Coast road trip started off with a 'W.'"
Along with his slider, Fulmer said he was able to work in his effective changeup with his blazing fastball, which was clocking as fast as 95 mph. Manager Brad Ausmus said Fulmer benefited from an extra day of rest after the rotation was pushed back due to Thursday's rainout
"I just felt good today," Fulmer said. "The adjustments I've been working on are finally paying off. Just keep building off from that."
Detroit was granted two unearned runs in the third inning, before padding its lead in the sixth courtesy of Jim Adduci's bases-clearing triple off A's starter Andrew Triggs, who was on the hook for three earned runs (five total) and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Tigers added a run in the eighth with another run-scoring triple -- this time from Jose Iglesias -- to spoil the A's debut of reliever Josh Smith, who allowed two runs. Oakland has dropped nine of its last 11, its lone bright spot Friday being Yonder Alonso, who collected a pair of RBI hits.
"We didn't play our best baseball. They obviously did," Alonso said. "They outplayed us in every aspect of the game. Just gotta turn the page.
"It's definitely a tough stretch, but we have a bunch of guys here that believe, a bunch of guys that have been here before. I know it is a tough stretch, but as professionals we have to grind it out, and we just have to play better. And we know that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Buckling down: The A's had multiple opportunities to make their mark on the game but came up empty against Fulmer, who was at his best under pressure. After loading the bases with one out in the third, Fulmer fell behind Matt Joyce, 2-0, before striking him out. He then got Jed Lowrie on a groundout to end the threat. In the fifth, Fulmer got Joyce on strikes again, stranding a pair of runners. Fulmer stranded two more in the sixth in a sequence that featured two strikeouts, and another in the eighth to finish at 107 pitches.
"He showed he could do that last year," Ausmus said of Fulmer pitching out of trouble. "That doesn't really surprise me."
"We weren't getting too many good swings off him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Started to later, but early in the game we were not. It was really the changeup. He's a little bit different this year in that he's got a really good changeup for lefties, and we know when he gets in trouble that's what he's going to, and that's what got him out of the bases-loaded situation."
It's not all Rosie: A's shortstop Adam Rosales bungled a ground ball off the bat of Iglesias on a charging play to lead off the third, which set the stage for Detroit's first two runs. Andrew Romine pushed a grounder through the left side to fuel the charge, and two outs later runners stood at second and third for Victor Martinez, who beat the shift with a ground ball to left field that gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The A's, who also watched third baseman Trevor Plouffe mishandle a ball in the eighth, have committed nine errors in their last nine games and 26 for the season.
"Rosie has been real consistent," Melvin said. "Not an easy ball. He'll probably say he should've made the play. He's coming in on it, and the ball stayed down, and a couple runs score, so it ends up costing us, and this year we've had quite a few that have cost us. But when you're looking at defenders and guys that work their butt off every day and play great defense, Rosie is that guy."
1,000 HITS FOR RAJAI
A's outfielder Rajai Davis singled off Tigers reliever Shane Greene with two outs in the ninth inning for his third hit of the game and career hit No. 1,000.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The A's challenged the call that had Khris Davis out on an attempt to stretch a single into a double to lead off the second inning, but the call would stand after replay officials determined that Davis did not maintain contact with the base while Iglesias held his tag.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Veteran righty Jordan Zimmermann aims for his third straight win in Saturday's 9:05 p.m. ET contest against the A's. Zimmermann has been the benefactor of some major support in his previous two outings, as the Tigers have put up a combined 26 runs.
A's: The A's will send right-hander Jesse Hahn to the mound for Saturday's 6:05 p.m. PT matchup with the Tigers at the Coliseum. Hahn has a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts, holding opponents to a .159 average.