DETROIT (AP) — Once he made it through the first inning, it was smooth sailing for Daniel Mengden.
Mengden pitched seven impressive innings and Nick Hundley and Chad Pinder homered to lift the Oakland Athletics to their 15th straight win over Detroit, 4-1 on Saturday. If the A’s beat the Tigers on Sunday, they would tie a franchise record for their longest winning streak against one team. Oakland won 16 in a row over the New York Yankees from 1989-91.
Mengden (1-1) allowed a run and three hits. He walked Nicholas Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera in the first but got out of that jam. Those were the only free passes he issued all day.
“Those two walks I had — Miguel Cabrera and Castellanos are the two best hitters, so I was trying to make good pitches to them,” said Mengden, who struck out five. “Besides that, it was all about getting strike one, being the aggressor.”
Lou Trivino worked the eighth inning for Oakland, and Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances.
Matthew Boyd (4-4) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings for the Tigers, who have dropped six straight. Boyd struck out eight.
Making his 100th career appearance, Boyd retired his first seven batters before allowing a single to Jurickson Profar, the first of three hits for the Oakland infielder. Hundley followed with his first home run of the season, which barely cleared the wall in right field.
“You never know what run is going to win or lose you a ballgame,” Boyd said. “You really can’t put much thought into what’s going on with the offense. You want to throw zeros as often as you can.”
The only run for Detroit came in the fourth, when — with two outs and two strikes — Mengden threw a wild pitch that enabled Ronny Rodriguez to score from third.
Profar hit an RBI double in the fifth to make it 3-1, and Pinder added a solo homer in the seventh.
Mengden allowed 15 of his 58 runs in the first inning last season, and he yielded two runs in the first inning of his previous start. This time, he worked through those two early walks.
“When he came back after the first inning, understood he’s got to throw strikes,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s got good stuff, he can mix his pitches really well. He’s a true four-pitch guy.”
The Tigers have not had the lead at any point during this losing streak. They did have a nice moment Saturday, when Cabrera singled in the ninth, breaking a tie with Lou Gehrig for 63rd place on the career hits list. Cabrera, who now has 2,722, was removed for a pinch runner and got a warm ovation from the crowd.
“I can accept that game — not the loss, but I can accept that game,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The intensity, the way we played. We were into it, really into it. They were getting after it and they had confidence. We have to keep playing like that and good things will happen.”
The A’s improved to 10-5 when an opponent starts a left-handed pitcher this year. They are 12-20 when facing righties.
Athletics: Khris Davis had the day off. The Oakland slugger returned last weekend from a bruised left hip. He’d played in five straight games since then.
Tigers: Niko Goodrum, who was scratched Friday with flu-like symptoms, was out of the lineup again.
Athletics: Oakland goes for the four-game sweep Sunday, with Mike Fiers (3-3) on the mound. Fiers spent much of 2018 with Detroit before being traded to the A’s in August.
Tigers: Gregory Soto (0-2) starts for Detroit.
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