King of the Hill: Lefty leads A's past Tigers

King of the Hill: Lefty leads A's past Tigers

DETROIT -- One night after the Tigers' offense broke out of an early-season slumber against the A's, Rich Hill put it back to sleep. The former University of Michigan standout tossed seven scoreless innings, taking advantage of a three-run fourth and a Marcus Semien two-run homer for a 5-1 Oakland win Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

The Tigers came within an out of being shut out for the third time this season, all of them games Mike Pelfrey (0-4) has started, before Victor Martinez doubled in a run in the ninth. Pelfrey held down Oakland's offense the first time through the order before four hits and a sacrifice fly doomed him in a five-batter span of the fourth inning. Semien essentially put the game away with his fifth home run of the year, a drive into the left-field seats beyond the A's bullpen.

"Tough way to end there with Semien," Pelfrey said. "Hung it high over the middle, he hit it out, and that's what I get."

Semien's two-run home run

That was the only meaningful sighting of the A's bullpen through seven innings thanks to Hill (3-2), who gave up two first-inning singles before retiring 18 of his final 20 batters.

Left-handers causing Tigers trouble this year

"After throwing 25 pitches in the first inning, I had a hard time thinking he was going to get through seven," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He did, against a lineup that broke out [Monday] in a fashion you're used to seeing them swing the bat. Very impressive."

Statcast: Reddick's running grab

A's score a quick trio in the fourth: Josh Reddick singled and stole second to open the fourth inning. A Jed Lowrie single scored Reddick, a Stephen Vogt double sent Lowrie to third, and Lowrie scored on a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp. Khris Davis singled to score Vogt and push the lead to 3-0. Reddick went 3-for-4 at the plate.

"I got some pitches to hit, didn't miss them," he said. "I felt like I saw them pretty well."

Lowrie's RBI single

Upton makes juggling highlight catch: Justin Upton has struggled to spark Detroit's offense, but he gave Pelfrey a boost of support from left field by taking away a would-be home run from Chris Coghlan in the third inning. Upton reached over the fence to keep Coghlan's opposite-field loft in the park, then recovered when it bounced off the heel of his glove to make the catch. Coghlan put his hands on his head in disbelief, and he had the same feeling after the game.

"You're going to have to [talk to] me tomorrow. I'm still bitter about it," Coghlan said. "I know I was out. It's an F7." More >

Must C: Upton brings one back

Hill drops the curve on Martinez: Though the righty-heavy Tigers lineup seemed like a formidable matchup for the crafty left-hander, Hill proved equal to the task with help from a nice breaking ball. He used the breaking ball to end his only real threat of the game, freezing J.D. Martinez with runners on first and second in the first inning. The Tigers didn't put another runner in scoring position against Hill. More >

"I think he was having a tough time early in the game locating his fastball, and he went to his curveball," Victor Martinez said. "He's sneaky, a very sneaky guy, a lefty that can change his arm slot. He was able to throw his curveball for a strike when he wanted."

Hill strikes out Martinez

The Tigers have not scored a run in four games while Pelfrey has been pitching. Until Martinez's double, the only run support Detroit provided with Pelfrey as the pitcher of record came after he left his first start of the season against the Yankees on April 9 at Comerica Park.

Athletics: Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the A's on Wednesday (4:10 p.m. PT game time) looking for his fifth quality start in as many outings. Gray allowed three earned runs over seven innings in his last start.

Tigers: Justin Verlander (1-2, 5.79 ERA) renews his memorable rivalry with the A's on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET, having lost a tough-luck 2-1 game to the Indians last Friday on two solo homers at Comerica Park.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Chris Vannini is a contributor to and covered the A's on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.