Trevor May pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the eighth and ninth innings, preserving Joe Boyle’s first major league win, as the Oakland Athletics defeated the visiting Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Esteury Ruiz’s two-run home run in the third was Oakland’s only scoring until the the eighth in its second straight win over the Tigers (72-83).
After Boyle (1-0) went six innings and Lucas Erceg tossed a scoreless seventh, Oakland (48-107) turned a 2-1 lead over to Dany Jimenez to start the eighth. But three walks with two strikeouts interspersed prompted May to come on and, despite falling behind 2-0, strike out Parker Meadows.
The A’s made things easier on their closer in the ninth by tacking on two runs in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double by Ryan Noda and a run-scoring single by Zack Gelof. Ruiz, batting ninth, contributed his second hit — a single — in the inning and scored his second run of the game.
The Tigers made things interesting in the ninth, however, as they loaded the bases again, this time with one out. But May struck out Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter to lock down his 20th save.
Boyle (1-0), who threw three shutout innings in his A’s debut last Sunday, was equally effective in six innings this time, allowing only an unearned run on a fielding error by third baseman Jordan Diaz in the third. Zach McKinstry, who had doubled with one out, scored on the error.
The hosts reversed the score in the last of the third, with Nick Allen stroking a one-out single off Joey Wentz before Ruiz smashed his fifth home run of the season.
Boyle was pulled after having thrown 94 pitches. He allowed five hits and one walk, striking out five.
Wentz (3-12) came on in relief of opener Miguel Diaz and threw 5 2/3 innings. He was charged with two runs on three hits. He struck out five and did not walk anyone.
Allen also scored two runs for the A’s, who had lost eight straight before beating the Tigers on Friday night.
McKinstry had a double and a single for the Tigers, who saw 13 batters go down swinging.