Miguel Cabrera homered, Omar Infante drove in three runs and Justin Verlander pitched six scoreless innings to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Verlander (15-8) allowed five hits and three walks while striking out five.
The Tigers have won two straight over the A's — and 28 of their last 36 games at home — in their chase to catch the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
Oakland, clinging to an AL wild-card spot, has dropped three straight and might have had a costly loss on the mound because Brett Anderson (4-2) left the game after two-plus innings with a strained right oblique.
The A's forced Verlander to throw 122 pitches and that ended his night. Octavio Dotel struck out two in a perfect seventh. Joaquin Benoit had two strikeouts in the eighth. Jose Valverde closed the game in a non-save situation, entering with a six-run lead, and was booed after giving up two-out RBI singles to Cliff Pennington and Stephen Drew.
Detroit played some small ball to take a 3-0 lead in the third.
Andy Dirks and Gerald Laird started the inning with bunt singles and advanced on Austin Jackson's groundout. Infante followed with a double down the left-field line to put the Tigers up 2-0.
After walking Cabrera intentionally and giving Prince Fielder a free pass on four pitches to load the bases, Anderson was injured while pitching to Delmon Young. Anderson fell forward and landed awkwardly after throwing his 48th pitch. Oakland trainer Nick Paparesta and manager Bob Melvin talked with Anderson briefly on the field before deciding to take him out of the game.
Right-hander Pat Neshek replaced Anderson and Young promptly hit a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta had an error in the fifth — snapping a 75-game errorless streak — but he helped turn a double play to end the inning. He chipped in at the plate in the home half, hitting an RBI single to put Detroit ahead 4-0.
Cabrera sent Jim Miller's 94 mph high fastball on an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left field for his 41st home run and 130th RBI to bolster his chances of being baseball's first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the feat in 1967.
Infante's groundout gave the Tigers a six-run lead in the eighth inning.
NOTES: Tigers RHP Max Scherzer said he hopes to make his next scheduled start on Sunday at home against Minnesota. He left the series opener against Oakland after just two innings because of a fatigued right shoulder. "It wasn't sharp pain, it was weakness," he said. "I need a couple days of not throwing." ... A's OF Coco Crisp didn't play because of infections in both eyes and Melvin is hoping his contagious ailment doesn't spread. "He's got his own towels," Melvin said. ... Tigers C Alex Avila, still feeling the effects of colliding with Fielder on Sunday, didn't play and the team is hoping he'll return this weekend at home against the Twins. ... Oakland 3B Brandon Inge, who the Tigers released in April, was in Oakland's dugout with his sons a week after having surgery on right shoulder to repair the labrum. "I'll be ready for spring," Inge said. ... Peralta's 75-game scoreless streak was the longest by a position player for the Tigers in a season since at least 1957.