• Summary: Magglio Ordonez provided the game-winning runs with a two-run homer in the sixth, and Justin Verlander (12-4) won for the first time since July 15 as the Tigers rolled past Dan Haren and the Athletics.
• Hero: Ordonez went 3-for-4 to raise his major-league leading batting average to .355. His homer in the sixth put Detroit up 3-2 and knocked a sharp Haren off his game.
• Slump busting: Verlander scattered seven hits and two runs over six innings, striking out seven and walking three to win his first game in six starts thanks much in part to the bullpen, which held the A's hitless in three innings.
• Quotable: "I really had to battle tonight, but I was able to keep them from scoring too many runs. The rest of the guys came through for me." -- Verlander
-- ESPN.com news services
Tigers 5, Athletics 2
DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Leyland usually gives his players all the credit for victories.Saturday, he gave it to someone else."Dave Dombrowski showed today why he's such a good general manager," the Detroit Tigers manager said after a 5-2 win over Oakland on Saturday night. "He knows what we need and he takes care of it."The Tigers came into the game with their bullpen in tatters after allowing 37 runs in four games, including a 16-10 loss to Oakland on Friday. Dombrowski, though, made two roster moves, getting Aquilino Lopez and Eulogio De La Cruz up from Triple-A in time for the game.De La Cruz didn't pitch, but Lopez got two key outs in the seventh inning to help Justin Verlander win for the first time in four weeks."Aquilino did a great job," Leyland said. "Our whole bullpen was marvelous."Verlander (12-4) hadn't won since July 15, and gave the Tigers just their second win from a starter in 24 games. He allowed two runs and seven hits with three walks in six-plus innings."I really had to battle tonight, but I was able to keep them from scoring too many runs," he said. "The rest of the guys came through for me."Four relievers finished, with Todd Jones pitching a perfect ninth for his 31st save in 36 tries."We got some big outs tonight, and that felt good, given how things have been going," said Bobby Seay.Detroit had lost three straight and 12 of 15, but moved within a half-game of Cleveland for the AL Central lead."It's mind-boggling that we're only a half-game out, considering how we've played," Leyland said. "We can't count on the other teams to keep losing, but I'm sure they are saying the same thing about us."Fellow All-Star Dan Haren (13-4) lost for the first time in six starts, giving up three runs and nine hits with a walk in 6 1/3 innings. Haren's last road loss was on April 7, at the Los Angeles Angels."They have a real good lineup, and with Verlander pitching, I knew it was going to be a low-scoring game," he said. "It was a dogfight, and we came out on the short end."Marcus Thames gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a first-inning homer, his 13th, but Oakland went ahead with single runs in the third and fifth.In the third, Verlander walked Travis Buck and Shannon Stewart with one out. After Nick Swisher popped out, Jack Cust tied the game with an RBI single.Kurt Suzuki led off the fifth with a double, took third on Buck's infield single and scored on a bloop single by Stewart.Brandon Inge, who had missed the previous two games because of the birth of his child, made a spectacular mental mistake in the sixth inning. With two out and runner on second, Inge fielded Suzuki's routine grounder and stepped on third, thinking there was a force play.Luckily for Inge, Verlander retired the next batter to escape the inning without damage."Brandon has picked me up a lot of times," Verlander said. "Tonight was my turn."Magglio Ordonez then gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead with a two-run homer off Haren in the bottom of the inning. Ordonez is now hitting .355 with 98 RBIs."He's just having a fantastic season," Leyland said. "That homer was the key to the game, because we weren't going to get many runs off that young man."Stewart and Swisher started the Oakland seventh with singles, but Seay came in to strike out Cust, and Lopez retired Mark Ellis and Marco Scutaro to end the inning."We got Verlander out of there, but then we couldn't finish the job," said Cust, who had seven RBIs Friday. "Sometimes it is a good thing to get to the bullpen and sometimes it is bad."Santiago Casilla matched the feat in the bottom of the inning, replacing Haren and getting Gary Sheffield and Ordonez with two runners on, but gave up two runs in the eighth."The keys to the game were the homers and Detroit's bullpen," Oakland manager Bob Geren said.
2B Placido Polanco, who needs one errorless game to tie Luis Castillo's major-league record of 143 straight at second base, was a late scratch because of a sore thumb. Leyland said that he expects Polanco to play Sunday. ... Lopez and De La Cruz replaced Jordan Tata and Macay McBride, who gave up a combined 11 runs in Friday's loss. After the game, De La Cruz was optioned back to Toledo and replaced by Yorman Bazardo. ... Mike Piazza, who has homered in 40 major league stadiums, made his Comerica Park debut Saturday, striking out in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter.