Oakland Athletics designated hitter Seth Smith (15) receives congratulations from second baseman Alberto Callaspo (18) after he hit a home run in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Justin Verlander's rocky season continued, giving up the go-ahead home run in the fifth as the Detroit Tigers dropped a rain-shortened game to the Oakland Athletics, 6-3, tonight at Comerica Park.
Verlander threw 104 pitches in just five innings. He allowed five earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three.
The game was tied with one out in the fifth when Josh Donaldson reached on a error by second baseman Omar Infante. With two outs and a runner at first, Brandon Moss smashed an 0-1 pitch just over the wall in left to give the Athletics the lead.
The rain the fell throughout started as a light drizzle and got heavy as the night when on. There were significant delays in the middle of the fifth and the start of the sixth as the grounds crew tried the tend to the infield.
Oakland padded its lead against Bruce Rondon in the sixth when Seth Smith hit a 1-0 pitch over the scoreboard in right-center for a home run. From there, Alberto Callaspo singled and Daric Barton walked. During the Stephen Vogt at bat, Rondon seemed to slip and tweak his right hamstring.
After Jim Leyland and head trainer Kevin Rand came out to check on the pitcher, Rondon stayed in the game. After Vogt singled to load the bases and Rondon seemed to grab at his leg again, the umpires called for the tarp, sending the game into a rain delay at 9:14 p.m.
The game was called after about a 1-hour, 20-minute delay.
Tommy Milone (10-9) pitched five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks.
Verlander (12-10) stumbled out of the gate as the A's scored twice in the first inning. Coco Crisp drew a leadoff walk and Donaldson singled to right. The runners moved up on a wild pitch and then both scored on Jed Lowrie's bloop double along the rightfield line. Verlander threw 44 pitches in the first.
But the Tigers responded with two of their own in the bottom of the frame. They, too, opened the inning with a walk (Austin Jackson) and single (Torii Hunter). Miguel Cabrera then walked to load the bases and Fielder made them pay with a two-run single over the second baseman's head.
With two out and Cabrera at third, Omar Infante hit a slow roller to second, but Callaspo let the ball roll under his glove for a two-base error, allowing the Tigers to take the lead.
Oakland tied the game with two outs in the third. Brandon Moss walked and scored on Yoenis Cespedes' double to left.
The game marked the return of Alex Avila, who was activated from the 7-day disabled list after suffering from concussion symptoms. He was 0-for-2 in his start behind the plate.