Headed up to Oakland this past weekend to see the red-hot A’s take on the Tigers, with Oakland going for their 10th win in a row. It didn’t happen. Justin Verlander happened. Brett Anderson serving up moonshots happened. At the end of the day, I travelled back home with a little bit of sunburn as the A’s settled for a 7-3 loss.
It was Verlander vs. Anderson and the Tigers’ ace had the upper hand, as expected. He started out throwing fastballs around 90 MPH and as the innings rolled on he cranked it up to a high of 96. The A’s got 3 hits and drew 3 walks while scoring 1 run off of Verlander in 6 innings. The 2011 AL Cy Young award winner racked up 6 K’s and threw 111 pitches, 75 for strikes. It was the high pitch count that the A’s managed to build up with a couple of lengthy innings that gave the home team any chance at all. As soon as Verlander departed, they mounted a 2-run rally off of Al Abluquerue.
But by then, all those two runs could do was pull the A’s to within 7-3, and they would get no closer despite loading the bases in the 8th.
The Tigers jumped all over Anderson, launching 3 homers and scoring all 7 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks. In 5 2/3 innings, Anderson threw 102 pitches of which 66 were strikes. Three of those strikes were deposited far, far from home plate. In the 3rd inning,Torii Hunter hit a 463-ft home run to left field, landing just below the luxury boxes. Prince Fielder bounced one off of the huge green wall beyond the CF fence in the fourth inning and Jhonny Peralta followed that up with a 3-run shot that also was not a cheapie.
The O.co Coliseum was packed, with a sellout crowd of over 35,000. The energy level was extremely high to start the day, but the pummeling the Tigers bats gave the home team dampened those spirits significantly. That and the slow start from folk hero/RF Josh Reddick, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts at the plate. Gone was the 9-game winning streak, but the A’s still enjoyed a hot start for 2013. Much better than they came out of the gates in their divsion-winning season last year, and the crowds are back.
All Photos: Steve Cummings/HotStoveHeat.com