Tuesday, July 01, 2014
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Tigers win on Davis' grand slam in ninth

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[July 01, 2014]  DETROIT -- Rajai Davis got the grand slam and the headlines, but Austin Jackson got the walk.

Jackson's walk on a 3-2 count Monday night was only the second issued by Oakland lefty Sean Doolittle (1-3) in 39 1/3 innings this season, and it loaded the bases for Davis.

Davis then took a 1-0 slider and put it just over the fence in the left-field corner for his third career grand slam and first walk-off home run.

"I hung the crap out of it," Doolittle said after serving up the home run that gave the Detroit Tigers a dramatic, 5-4 victory over the Oakland A's in the opener of a three-game series between division leaders that met in each of the last two postseasons.

"I wasn't aware of that," Jackson said when he learned Doolittle entered the game with a 56-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. "That's an unbelievable stat. It seemed like a long at-bat.

"I was stepping out after every pitch, to make my plan in my head. I wanted to keep the same aggressiveness. That's a guy who throws 97 (mph) and he's got that nasty slider too."

"Jackson did a real good job," Doolittle said. "You could see he was really shortening up his swing with two strikes."

Rookie left-hander Blaine Hardy (1-0) got his first major league win after throwing a 1-2-3 ninth for Detroit.

With the Tigers trailing 4-1, third baseman Nick Castellanos singled to third to open the ninth, and catcher Alex Avila lined a single past second. Center fielder Jackson walked with one out and Davis hit his grand slam.

"I've never done it before," Davis said of his walk-off slam, "except in my dreams when I'm asleep.

"When you're the guy getting mobbed (at home plate), it's a great feeling."

"He got behind," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Doolittle's third blown save this season. "And they got on him early, too. That breaking ball that Davis hit, I don't think he was trying to throw it for a strike there.

"He gave up a couple hits the other night and ended up not getting the save. But with a three-run lead, you definitely felt comfortable."

Oakland earned its 4-1 lead with three runs in the eighth. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was safe at first when Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez threw the ball over first baseman Miguel Cabrera's head on an easy ground ball to open the inning. Right fielder Brandon Moss then slammed an RBI double to deep left-center on a 2-2 pitch from right-hander Anibal Sanchez, breaking a 1-1 deadlock.

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Right-hander Joba Chamberlain relieved Sanchez and allowed a walk and a single before shortstop Jed Lowrie lined a two-run single to left.

With two outs in the sixth, Lowrie had blooped an RBI single to center, scoring Cespedes from third to break a scoreless tie.

Cabrera rocketed a hanging 2-2 curveball from A's starter Scott Kazmir into the seats in left-center to square the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

Sanchez allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings. Kazmir limited Detroit to one run in 5 1/3 innings.

NOTES: LHP Scott Kazmir of Oakland was removed from the game with one out in the sixth when his leg began cramping up. ... LF Yoenis Cespedes came out after batting in the eighth due to left hamstring problems, and manager Bob Melvin said he was doubtful to play Tuesday. ... Detroit DH Victor Martinez was a late lineup scratch due to soreness in his lower back/side area. He was replaced by J.D. Martinez, originally scheduled to get the game off. J.D. Martinez went 0-for-2 with two walks. ... Oakland made a position switch before the game, shifting Brandon Moss from first to right field and moving Stephen Vogt from right to first base. ... The A's hit the midpoint of their schedule with a 51-30 record, third best in Oakland history. The 1971 team was 53-28, and the 1988 squad 52-29 halfway through the season. ... Detroit LHP Ian Krol threw his second bullpen session Monday without incident and could be headed for a brief rehab assignment soon. He was placed on the disabled list June 21 with a sore left shoulder.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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