DETROIT — Brandon Moss hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Justin Verlander, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 in a game cut short by rain on Tuesday night.
Seth Smith hit a leadoff homer in the sixth, and Oakland had the bases loaded with no one out when the tarp was pulled on the field due to the weather. It was called after an 80-minute delay.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone (10-9) allowed three runs in the first, then pitched four scoreless innings for the complete game. The left-hander improved to 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA in his last six starts.
Detroit dropped its second straight game, but the biggest concern was another sluggish outing for Verlander (12-10), who was charged with four runs, three earned, and four hits in five innings.
The right-hander, who won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP honor in 2011, is 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA in his last four starts.
Verlander and Milone each got off to a slow start — they combined for 78 pitches during a rocky first inning.
Oakland pushed across two runs before Verlander recorded an out. Coco Crisp had a leadoff walk and Josh Donaldson singled. The runners moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Jed Lowrie’s bloop double to right.
Seth Smith had a two-out walk before Verlander finally got out of the inning when Alberto Callaspo flied out. The 44 pitches for Verlander were the most he had ever thrown in an inning.
The game was tied before Milone got an out. With a steady rain beginning to fall, Detroit’s first four batters reached. Prince Fielder had a two-run single, and Miguel Cabrera came home when Omar Infante’s routine grounder to second went under Callaspo’s glove for an error.
AVILA ACTIVATED: Detroit activated catcher Alex Avila from the concussion disabled list Tuesday and optioned catcher Bryan Holaday to Triple-A Toledo.
Avila had been sidelined since Aug. 11 because of a concussion he sustained three days earlier on a foul tip off his mask in Cleveland. His return was delayed by headaches after his first rehab game in Toledo, but he played the last three days without any symptoms and was cleared by team doctors.
Holaday is hitting .280 in a pair of major-league stints this season, both during disabled-list stays for Avila.
RAYS/HELLICKSON: Tampa Bay optioned Jeremy Hellickson to Class A Charlotte to allow the right-hander some extra rest before the September stretch run.
Hellickson, whom Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon says is healthy, is not expected to pitch in the minors and should rejoin the team early next month.
Hellickson (10-8) allowed five runs in just 2 2/3 innings — his shortest start since June 2012 — in Monday’s 11-1 loss at Kansas City. The 2011 AL rookie of the year fell to 0-5 in his last six outings, making it through five innings only once in that span.
The Rays also recalled left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham.