DETROIT – Tarik Skubal was planning to head to the mound for the day's first pitch. Then he realized the Detroit Tigers were the visiting team at Comerica Park and Oakland's Frankie Montas would be on the rubber.
“Thank God someone mentioned it before the game, because I almost ran out there for the top of the first inning,” Skubal said. “Montas and I would have both been on the mound. It was weird, but that’s baseball.”
Skubal led the Tigers to a 6-0 win in the opener of a unique doubleheader Tuesday caused by Major League Baseball’s lockout. With the Athletics as the visiting team in the second game, 25-year-old Adrian Martinez pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings to win his major league debut, a 4-1 Oakland victory.
In a matchup of last-place teams, Detroit ended a 27-inning scoreless streak in the opener. Oakland (12-19) then won for the second time in 12 games and sent the Tigers (9-21) to their seventh loss in eight games.
Miguel Cabrera singled in the ninth inning of the second game, tying Wade Boggs for 30th with 3,010 hits.
Skubal (2-2) allowed three hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked three. Jonathan Schoop homered and scored twice on a day he raised his batting average from .139 to .157.
“It felt good to win,” Skubal said. “Their guy was really good, so I was just trying to give us a chance to stay in the game and get some late offense.”
Under MLB's original schedule announced last year, Detroit was to have played three games at Oakland from April 4-6 in its second series of the season. But the first week was postponed by the lockout, and MLB rescheduled one of the games as part of a doubleheader at Comerica Park while keeping Oakland as the home team. The other games are to be played as a doubleheader at the Oakland Coliseum on July 21, what was to have been an off-day during the All-Star break.
Detroit wore its white home uniforms despite batting first, while the A’s wore green tops and gray pants. The Tigers reverted to the home team in the second game.
In the first game, Montas (2-3) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.
A's shortstop Elvis Andrus and left fielder Chad Pinder collided in the fifth while trying for Willi Castro's shallow fly ball. Both players required attention from athletic trainers and remained in the game.
“It's scary when you are running out there, because you have the worst-case scenario running through your head,” Kotsay said. “Luckily, Elvis' shin — the one that hasn't needed surgery — just grazed Chad's temple. Our trainers took every precaution, and Chad passed all the concussion tests.”
Castro reached on the single to put runners on first and second with no outs, and Tucker Barnhart's bunt single loaded the bases. Derek Hill's sacrifice fly ended Detroit's scoreless streak, and Robbie Grossman beat out a potential double-play grounder as Castro scored.
Schoop homered to make it 3-0 in the sixth, and Jeimer Candelario hit a three-run double in the seventh off Kirby Snead.
“I thought I was pretty good, to be honest,” Montas said. “That's still a lineup of major league hitters. No bad hitters get to this level.”
In the second game, Alex Faedo (0-1) gave up two runs and four hits over five innings in his second major leage start. Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Kevin Smith had an RBI single. Cristian Pache added an RBI single in the seventh and Luis Barrera a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Martinez (1-0) struck out Javy Baez in the first inning and retired Cabera in the second.
“I knew I was in the big leagues when I was facing players like that,” Martinez said through a translator. “You know they are in the lineup, but it is different when they are in the batter’s box.”
Martinez struck out three and walked none.
“That was just a great performance by Adrian,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “He comes up here for his first major league start and attacks the zone right away. That’s what you want to see from a kid.”
Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Lou Trivino . Eric Haase struck out, Robbie Grossman forced in a run with a walk and Austin Meadows popped out.
“We need today to be encouraging and we're going to make it encouraging,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. "We had a really good first game and we gave ourselves a chance in the second one. We can't ask for much more than that.”
In Castro's first at-bat after his fifth-inning bloop single, he hit another pop fly into shallow left. This time, both Andrus and Pinder backed off, allowing the ball to drop. The play was originally ruled an error on Andrus, but changed after the game to a hit for Castro.
Neither player started the second game of the doubleheader, but Kotsay said they were available.
Oakland agreed to minor league contracts with INF Matt Davidson and RHP Jorge Juan.
The teams play the fourth of a five-game series on Wednesday night, with Detroit's Joey Wentz making his major league debut against Oakland's Zach Logue (1-1, 2.84).
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