Cust's grand slam, 7 RBIs send A's past Tigers

" Hero: Jack Cust's first career grand slam gave Oakland the lead for good 12-9.

" Unsung hero: Travis Buck had four hits, scored three times and drove in three runs for the A's.

" Yard work: Gary Sheffield ended a 13-game homerless streak with the 479th shot of his career.

" Figure this: Detroit has lost seven of its last nine games.

" Quotable: "We can't keep going like this. This team is battling, and I'm very proud of them, but this was a terrible night." -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland

-- ESPN.com news services

Athletics 16, Tigers 10

DETROIT (AP) -- A year ago, the Tigers rode a hot bullpen all the way to the World Series. This season, their relievers might be the biggest reason they don't make it back.

Jack Cust hit a grand slam and drove in seven runs, and the Oakland Athletics rallied after blowing a seven-run lead to beat Detroit 16-10 on Friday night.

The Tigers' bullpen gave up nine runs, and Detroit lost for the seventh time in nine games while falling to 11-18 since the All-Star break.

"We can't keep going like this," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "This team is battling, and I'm very proud of them, but this was a terrible night."

With Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya both missing large parts of the season with injuries, Leyland can't really blame his ragtag relief corps.

"With everything we've gone through, we're lucky to just be where we're at," he said. "You have to guard against making excuses, but we're fortunate to be in this."

Travis Buck had four hits, scored three times and drove in three runs for Oakland. Donnie Murphy also homered and drove in three runs.

"This was a crazy game," Cust said. "Detroit's offense is fun to watch, and they scored a lot of runs tonight. Luckily, so did we."

Detroit scored five times in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homer by Gary Sheffield and a grand slam by Marcus Thames, then took a 9-8 lead with three more in the fifth.

The Athletics, though, quickly restored the seven-run margin.

Macay McBride (0-1) retired the first hitter of the sixth, but hit Buck before walking the next two batters.

"We preach selective aggression all through the minors and that leads to walks," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "It works better when you get home runs too."

Cust provided just that, hitting a 429-foot line drive to center field to give Oakland a 12-9 lead.

"I hit that one pretty good," Cust said. "I didn't even feel the ball make contact, and that's when you know you got all of it."

Zach Miner replaced McBride and Mark Ellis doubled, Mark Kotsay was intentionally walked and Marco Scutaro and Murphy hit RBI singles to make it 14-9. Kurt Suzuki struck out for the second time in the inning, but Buck hit a two-run single, his fourth hit of the game.

"I don't know what the answer is," said the Tigers' Jason Grilli, who allowed one run and has an 8.53 ERA in his last six games. "We're all trying to pull our weight, so this is unfortunate."

Ruddy Lugo (3-0) got the win pitching two innings of relief.

Detroit scored two more in the bottom of the sixth on Curtis Granderson's 18th triple and a Placido Polanco sacrifice fly.

Buck had a chance to hit for the cycle, but grounded out in the ninth when he needed a homer.

"I'm not a home-run hitter, but I went up there swinging as hard as I could," he said. "Rodney just blew my bat apart."

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the first on Nick Swisher's sacrifice fly, then added two more in the second on Murphy's homer. Detroit got one back in the bottom of the inning, but Cust's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run third that gave the Athletics a 7-1 lead.

Buck's RBI double in the fourth gave Oakland their first seven-run lead.

Neither starter was involved in the decision. Oakland's Joe Blanton gave up nine runs in four-plus innings, while Jordan Tata gave up seven runs in two-plus innings.

Game notes
Oakland's eight-run sixth matched a season high, set April 20 at Texas, and was the biggest inning allowed by Detroit this season. ... Granderson's 18 triples are the most by a Tiger since Barney McCosky had 19 in 1940. Sam Crawford has the franchise record of 26 in 1914. ... Blanton has a career 9.67 ERA in five starts against the Tigers, but has managed a 2-2 record. ... The loss was just the second of McBride's 131-game career.