OAKLAND -- Justin Verlander tried to slip something past the umpires and an Oakland hitter on Saturday night. The wild throw that ensued was a microcosm of his evening.
Verlander allowed season highs in runs and hits, and the Athletics took advantage in a 6-2 victory over Detroit, ending the Tigers' four-game winning streak.
Verlander (1-2) gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked three and struck out six.An illegal pitch -- generally reserved for softball games -- was declared when Verlander lost contact with the rubber and let the ball go with a runner on first in the fifth inning. It was officially ruled a balk.
"I went to go pick one and I didn't get my body turned," Verlander said. "The way I thought -- and this was all in milliseconds -- if I just throw it home, they won't call anything."
Verlander delivered a pitch while David DeJesus was in his back swing that wound up skipping along the ground and traveling to the backstop. Daric Barton took a couple of steps off first and stopped. DeJesus tried to claim first base.
"If I throw the ball straight to Victor, maybe they don't call anything," Verlander said. "I saw the video of it and I couldn't help but laugh at myself."
Verlander, who normally does not step backward when making a throw to first base, stepped backward this time. When he realized he wouldn't be able to throw toward first, he tried the next best thing.
"It might be the first time that has happened, in general," Verlander said. "I thought nothing could happen at the plate. It was a weird circumstance. It was funny talking to the umpires. They gave me a hard time about it, too."
After the umpires conferred, a decision was reached and order was restored.
"That was the strangest thing I've ever seen," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It took like six coaches to try to figure out what he did."
The A's were ahead, 3-1, at the time -- thanks to three consecutive doubles and a throwing error in the fourth.
"They ambushed him that one inning, and it cost him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We need to do a little more hitting. We can't waste opportunities."
He did not allow a run in the fifth.
"At least I did that right," Verlander said.
Verlander gave up a run-scoring double to Coco Crisp in the sixth, before exiting from the proceedings.
Magglio Ordonez returned to the lineup, getting a hit in four plate appearances. Miguel Cabrera scored the Tigers' first run in the second inning after walking, advancing to third on Victor Martinez's double and scoring on Barton's throwing error.
"We did a poor job of recognizing situational hitting opportunities," Leyland said. "That's something we work on from day one of Spring Training, and it looked to me like we just didn't recognize those situations."
Ordonez will be given Sunday off, with the plan being to give him two games in the upcoming Seattle series.
The Tigers managed three hits off A's starter Dallas Braden, who left the game after five innings with shoulder stiffness.
Detroit didn't fare much better against four Oakland relievers, though Austin Jackson drove in a run in the ninth, an inning where the Tigers loaded the bases with one out.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.