OAKLAND, Calif. - The Detroit Tigers have managed to hold onto first place in the AL Central despite winning just eight of their last 23 road games. Manager Jim Leyland is hoping his offense wakes up before their road woes cost them.
Jack Cust homered twice and drove in four runs, Landon Powell hit a three-run homer and the Oakland Athletics beat the Tigers 9-4 yesterday.
"We still didn't do too much offensively," Leyland said. "We didn't put it in play very well. You can't play that way in the middle of a pennant race. We made some mistakes. We missed a hit-and-run, we got picked off ... you can't do those things."
Brett Tomko (3-2) allowed one run and three hits in six innings to improve to 2-0 with a sparkling 0.82 ERA since he was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento on Aug. 17. Tomko signed a minor league deal with Oakland after he was designated for assignment by the Yankees on July 21.
"I basically went from zero pitches to 90 pitches in 3 1/2 weeks," Tomko said. "It was kind of an accelerated spring training for me. I went home and still worked out, played catch, and threw bullpens. I was only curious about how my arm would react and it's been OK."
Cliff Pennington also homered and finished with two hits for the A's.
Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including his 200th homer, and drove in two as the Tigers lost for the third time in five games. Curtis Granderson also connected and Marcus Thames added a pinch-hit RBI single.
"Right now I don't feel good because we lost to a team we should have played better against," Cabrera said. "I do feel good about getting the opportunity to play every day. I feel fortunate."
Cabrera is the fifth player from Venezuela with at least 200 homers, joining Tony Armas, Bobby Abreu, teammate Magglio Ordonez, and Andres Galarraga.
Rick Porcello (10-8) yielded five runs and eight hits in 51/3 innings for Detroit. The rookie right-hander was 1-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his four previous starts.
"He didn't have a brutal game. He couldn't keep the ball in the park," Leyland said. "Other than Cust he did pretty good."
The Tigers lost their 10th consecutive road series, last winning one June 8-11 at the Chicago White Sox.
"The offense has got to be better than its been but we've been talking about that for a while now," Leyland said. "Maybe we don't hit as good as I think we can. I'm beginning to wonder that maybe I got our hitting overrated. If you play good enough you win. If you don't, you get beat. We haven't played good enough on the road."
Granderson led off the game with his 24th homer but Oakland responded with four in the third. Rajai Davis tied it with an RBI single. After Ryan Sweeney walked, Cust hit a three-run homer inside the foul pole down the right-field line.
"I ended up falling behind on him and ended up giving him a cookie over the plate," Porcello said.
"The ball sailed over the plate and he was ready for it. He turned on it and that was that."
Cust led off the sixth with his 19th homer to make it 5-1.
"I feel a lot better since I found something in my swing," Cust said. "Now I'm not thinking as much and not missing pitches I was missing for about a month."
Thames singled home a run in the seventh and Cabrera added a two-run homer in the eighth as the Tigers pulled within one.
The A's clinched it with four runs in the eighth, three on Powell's drive, and another on Pennington's homer.