(SportsNetwork.com) - Oakland righty Sonny Gray tries to add to Detroit's recent road woes on Tuesday when the two best teams in the American League continue a four-game set at O.co Coliseum.
"It will be fun," Gray said. "It's a series that both teams want to win. You can look at it as being important to both teams."
Gray has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season and comes into the contest sporting an AL-best 1.99 ERA to go along with a 5-1 record. The 24-year-old hurler did not get a decision on Thursday against Tampa Bay, but was brilliant, giving up just a run and five hits in eight innings of his team's 5-2 loss.
Gray, who is the first A's pitcher since at least 1913 to begin the season with 10 consecutive quality starts, was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two postseason games versus the Tigers last season.
The young Oakland hurler will have his work cut out for him on Tuesday, as he goes up against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who is coming off his worst performance of the season.
Scherzer had won six straight starts before getting drilled by Cleveland on Wednesday to the tune of seven runs and 12 hits in seven innings. Amazingly, though, he escaped without a decision and is 6-1 on the year to go along with a 2.59 ERA.
He had entered that contest with a 1.83 ERA.
Scherzer is 2-1 in six starts versus the A's with a 4.20 ERA. However, including the postseason, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last four starts at Oakland.
"Oakland is well rounded," said Scherzer. "They have guys who get base, guys who can steal, and they hit for power. They have a little bit of everything; they challenge you."
Oakland handed the Tigers their fifth straight road loss on Monday, as Tommy Milone struck out six over 6 2/3 innings and the Athletics smashed five home runs en route to a 10-0 triumph.
Brandon Moss and Kyle Blanks both smacked solo shots in the second inning before Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes belted back-to-back blasts in the third to provide more than enough support for Milone (3-3), who scattered four hits and two walks over his scoreless outing.
Derek Norris capped Oakland's home run barrage with a grand slam in the eighth, while Donaldson finished 3-for-5 with two RBI to help the A's snap their four-game losing streak.
"It was a great day for us after a tough series in Toronto," Norris said. "We played hard. We battled. It was nice to come out here and put up some runs."
Drew Smyly (2-3) surrendered six runs on eight hits in just five innings to absorb the loss. Victor Martinez collected two of the Tigers' five hits in the setback, their third in a row and seventh in their last eight games overall.
"We wanted to turn it around three days ago but it just hasn't happened," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of his team's recent slide. "Something has to happen, something has to click. We have to have a good outing from our starter and all of a sudden everything's back to normal."
Detroit had won 11 straight games away from home before this current slide.
Of course, these two teams have met the last two years in the ALDS with Detroit winning each series. Oakland, though, was 4-3 in the regular season against the Tigers a year ago.