Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each knocked in a pair of runs and the Detroit Tigers held on this time to record a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
One night after serving up a game-ending three-run homer to Josh Donaldson in Wednesday's matchup between the teams, Tigers closer Joe Nathan was scored on twice more in the ninth inning in this one. The struggling veteran was able to retire Jed Lowrie with the winning run aboard, however, to close out Rick Porcello's eighth win of the season.
Porcello (8-2) held Oakland to two runs despite issuing a career-high six walks in 5 2/3 innings, but the Athletics went 2-for-14 with men in scoring position and stranded 14 baserunners to fall for the sixth time in eight games.
"We had plenty of opportunities today," A's manager Bob Melvin remarked.
Martinez finished 2-for-4 and Ian Kinsler also had two hits, including an RBI double, along with two runs scored to help Detroit earn a split of the four- game series and avenge Wednesday's result.
Nick Punto had a two-run homer earlier for Oakland, while starter Jesse Chavez (4-3) was reached for three runs and eight hits over six innings.
The Tigers forged ahead when Kinsler doubled home Andrew Romine in the fifth inning and later crossed the plate on a Cabrera sacrifice fly for a 3-2 advantage, then extended the margin with two runs off Jim Johnson in the seventh.
Singles by Don Kelly and Cabrera set the stage for Martinez's double down the right-field line that plated both runners and gave Nathan some room to work with in the ninth, with Al Albuquerque and Joba Chamberlain tossing a scoreless inning each to maintain the 5-2 lead.
Nathan needed every bit of the extra distance, as it turned out. He was greeted by a Donaldson double and surrendered Yoenis Cespedes' RBI single two batters later that brought the A's closer.
Alberto Callaspo fanned looking for the second out, but Josh Reddick kept Oakland's hopes alive with a run-scoring double and Punto drew a walk before Nathan finally ended things by getting the pinch-hitting Lowrie to bounce out to first.
"We had some situational at-bats where we didn't come through," said Melvin. "But still, we put ourselves in position to keep fighting in the ninth where we had the winning run on base."
Chavez induced a double play to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the opening inning, but Kinsler doubled to begin the third and was pushed across for the game's first run on groundouts by Kelly and Cabrera.
Porcello also used a double-play ball to emerge unscathed from a bases-loaded situation in the second, and had a shutout going until Punto ripped a first- pitch fastball over the wall in right center with Callaspo on in the fourth.
Oakland threatened again an inning later, with back-to-back singles from Coco Crisp and John Jaso putting men on the corners with none out. Porcello came up with a big strikeout of Donaldson, though, and J.D. Martinez robbed Cespedes with a sliding catch in left field to end the frame.
"I was fortunate to get out of some of the innings I got out of," said Porcello. "The catch that J.D. made, to me, was really the game. That was huge."