A's drop series opener to Tigers

A's drop series opener to Tigers

DETROIT -- Oakland starter Dan Haren felt sure he had put last Saturday's start behind him.

The A's starter arrived in Detroit and matched Tigers starter Justin Verlander pitch-for-pitch early on. His teammates did what they wanted to do when they took the initial lead on a full-count RBI single by Milton Bradley in the third.

Unfortunately, once again the visitors could not overcome a shaky start by Haren in a 7-4 loss to Detroit on Friday.

Haren and the A's led, 1-0, in the fourth when Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez started the scoring in a pair of back-to-back three-run innings.

Ordonez's one-out double scored Curtis Granderson and Haren intentionally walked Carlos Guillen. Haren recorded his second out, but Dmitri Young would not allow Oakland to end the inning in a tie. Fresh from the disabled list, Young's 1-1 single scored Ordonez and Guillen to put the A's behind, 3-1.

Briefly, Haren thought that he had seen the worst and escaped.

"I felt great," Haren said. "Even the fourth inning when I gave up the runs, I felt like I made some good pitches. Obviously, the one to Young wasn't too good, but I felt like, stuff-wise, it was there."

Apparently not.

"I gotta sit back and really think about it," Haren said. "Now that I gave up a few runs here today and didn't really give myself a chance to win, I need to sit back and just think about it and think of what I need to do to get back to where I was. I can't keep going out and hurting the team like this."

Oakland's starter simply had no time to recover from his previous inning. The fifth inning started with another double, this time on Haren's first pitch to No. 9 hitter Brandon Inge. Inge's double was the first of four consecutive hits that ultimately undid the A's.

By the end of the inning, Haren had thrown a wild pitch that advanced runners to second and third during Ivan Rodriguez's at-bat, and surrendered a two-run double to the Tigers catcher on the next pitch.

The lack of control was unusual for Haren. The right-hander entered Friday's contest with two walks in his last three starts. Before that, however, he issued walks to nine batters in two starts.

With Friday's loss, Haren has not won in seven starts since June 14. The stretch ties the longest of his career established from April 23 to May 26, 2005.

Rest assured though, Haren's struggles are not the latest A's injury or wear and tear problems.

"It's definitely not a fatigue thing," Haren said. "It possibly could be something mechanical. I don't know, but most pitchers go through ups and downs during the year, and right now it's one of the downs. I just gotta pick myself up because the team needs me and I need to go out there and give us better chances."

Friday's loss drops Oakland to 12-15 against the American League Central this season and 3-4 against the Tigers.

Sam Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.