OAKLAND (AP) — Yoenis Cespedes spent the past two days rekindling old friendships and getting comfortable in the ballpark he called home for the first two-plus seasons of his big league career.
Then the Detroit slugger did what he had done numerous times before at the Coliseum, only this time in a different uniform.
Cespedes homered with two outs in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie against his former team and six Detroit pitchers combined on an six-hitter to lead the Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
“Even though I have a lot of affection for that team, I play for this team now and I want to win,” Cespedes said through a translator. “I was confident I was going to do something, but not necessarily hit a home run.”
Cespedes hit a three-run home run off Oakland reliever Dan Otero (2-3) after Ian Kinsler doubled to end an 0-for-22 drought and Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked.
The Cuban slugger’s sixth home run of the season was his first at the Coliseum since being traded from the A’s to the Boston Red Sox on July 31 in exchange for pitcher Jon Lester. Cespedes, who was later dealt to the Tigers in the offseason, hadn’t been back to Oakland since then and was 2 for 7 with three walks in the series before hitting a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall.
“Any hitter is motivated when the guy ahead of him gets walked,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “It seems to work out when a team trades you he comes back and hits a home run.”
Kyle Ryan (1-0) pitched three innings of relief for the win. Ausmus was forced to juggle his pitching staff after Alfredo Simon was placed on the bereavement list when he flew to the Dominican Republic to be with his ailing father following Tuesday night’s loss to the A’s.
Alex Wilson was pulled out of the bullpen and pitched three hitless innings with one strikeout and one walk in his first career start.
Ryan, who was initially being penciled in to start Wednesday but arrived too late to prepare, replaced Wilson and allowed three hits and one run. The left-hander walked three.
Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
Detroit left the bases loaded in the second and stranded two more runners in the fourth before breaking through in the fifth.
The struggling A’s lost their second straight after a season-high three-game winning streak.
Stephen Vogt tripled and scored in the seventh for Oakland. Marcus Semien added a pinch-hit triple in the eighth and scored on Eric Sogard’s groundout.
A’s starter Scott Kazmir lasted just three innings before leaving with tightness in his left shoulder. Kazmir, winless since April 13, didn’t allow a hit and struck out four with three walks.
“I think it just started bothering him as the game went along,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin. “You could tell he was a little uncomfortable after the first pitch when he was coming off the mound. His body language wasn’t great so we didn’t want to push him.”
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander will make his first rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Toledo and could rejoin the big league club soon after. The six-time All-Star and 2011 AL Cy Young winner has been out since late March with a right triceps strain. He threw a simulated game on Tuesday. ... SS Jose Iglesias (bruised knee) is taking batting practice and fielding groundballs but was kept out of the lineup for a third consecutive game. ... C Alex Avila was scheduled to meet with a doctor to get treatment on his ailing left knee.
Athletics: Closer Sean Doolittle pitched one scoreless inning in his season debut. Doolittle struck out two and allowed one hit. ... LHP Eric O’Flaherty (strained shoulder) was scheduled to make his first rehab start Wednesday night for Triple-A Nashville. ... RHP A.J. Griffin (elbow surgery) will pitch two innings in a simulated game Thursday. ... 1B Ike Davis (strained left quad) will take batting practice before Thursday’s game.
Tigers: RHP Buck Farmer was called up from Triple-A Toledo and will make his season debut against the Angels on Thursday. Farmer made two starts and appeared in four games overall with an 11.57 ERA in 2014.
Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (2-2) will make his second start since being recalled from the minors against the New York Yankees on Thursday.