Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - Justin Verlander tossed seven strong innings of two-hit ball, lifting the Detroit Tigers to a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in the finale of a four-game set on Sunday.
Verlander (4-1) fanned eight and didn't surrender his first hit until Josh Reddick looped a single into center with two outs in the fourth inning. Seth Smith's leadoff homer in the fifth accounted for Oakland's other hit off the right-hander.
The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner and MVP couldn't come out for the eighth because of a blister.
"There was no point in going out there and risking something serious happening," said Verlander. "Obviously if I could, I would. At this point in the season you don't want to cause something that's going to linger for a long time."
Austin Jackson's bases-loaded walk in the sixth plated the go-ahead run, while Miguel Cabrera added three hits and two RBI for the Tigers, who earned a split of the series.
Jarrod Parker (1-1) allowed two runs on six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings for Oakland, which had won the previous two games of the set.
"[Verlander's] one of the best pitchers in the game," said A's infielder Eric Sogard. "We did our best."
With the game tied after five frames, Detroit plated a two-out run to take the lead in the sixth. Brennan Boesch doubled to center and back-to-back walks to Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Raburn chased Parker out of the contest.
Grant Balfour took the mound and walked Jackson on eight pitches to bring home Boesch. With the count full, Jackson fouled off two offerings from Balfour before taking a fastball outside the zone.
Joaquin Benoit spun a scoreless eighth inning, Cabrera gave Detroit an insurance run in the top of the ninth with an RBI single and Jose Valverde notched his seventh save of the year in the bottom half of the frame.
Detroit struck first with a run in the fifth inning. Jackson lined a one-out single to center, stole second and scored two batters later when Cabrera slapped a base hit up the middle.
Oakland, though, tied the contest in its half of the fifth as Smith crushed a homer over the wall in right field.
Cabrera has a career .348 average with 36 RBI in 38 games played against Oakland...Detroit improved to 7-16 this season when scoring fewer than four runs...The Tigers are 13-4 this year when plating the game's first run.