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OAK@DET: Moss goes 4-for-5 with two homers, six RBIs

DETROIT -- In a surprising turn of events, the A's have transformed Comerica Park into their personal playground. Brandon Moss is living large on the swing set, his teammates still spinning round and round on the carousel.

Surely the club's previously woeful offense was going to come around again before season's end, but this can't be where the A's imagined it would happen. They had dropped 14 of 23 when they arrived in Detroit, where four games against the American League's best pitching staff loomed on their schedule.

In short, they've stomped all over the Tigers in the first three, simply destroying them on Wednesday night in a 14-4 laugher that secured the series victory.

Heading into Thursday's series finale, the A's have outscored Detroit, 28-13, and they're batting .377 (40-for-106) in the series.

"We knew coming into this series that, first off, it's a big series, and second off, it was going to be a challenge with the pitching staff they have," said Moss. "The starter they put out every single night is one of the best, and for us runs have been hard to come by almost all year, and it's supposed to be like that when you're facing guys like this."

"It looks like they were sitting in our pitchers' meetings," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "They hit some soft that fell. They hit some hard that fell. They hit some short that fell, and they hit some real long that eventually landed."

Oakland collected a season-high 21 hits in the one-sided affair, with a streaking Moss leading the way with four, including two home runs and a career-high six RBIs, to keep his club 2 1/2 games back of the Rangers in the AL West and half a game behind the Rays for the first Wild Card slot.

It marked the fourth career multihomer game for Moss, who has six home runs in his past 28 at-bats. And he got plenty of help around him, too, with eight of the A's starting nine recording at least one hit, seven of them at least two, five of them three.

"When we come in here, we don't expect to do that. We expect to win, but we really don't take it much farther than that," said manager Bob Melvin. "I don't think, coming in here, we're thinking we're going to score a ton of runs in the first three games. I don't have an explanation for it other than we're just having really good at-bats."

Having already gotten to right-handers Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander in the first two games, the A's singled their way home against another righty this time around, tagging Doug Fister for seven runs on 13 hits -- 11 of them singles -- in just five innings.

Oakland used five consecutive base hits in the second to jump out to an early 3-0 lead, and by the end of the sixth, when Moss hit his first homer off lefty Jose Alvarez, the A's led 10-1. His second homer, a three-run shot, came in a four-run eighth against another lefty, Drew Smyly.

There's a reason for Moss' hot-hitting ways, he said, after making a tweak in his stance a couple of weeks ago during batting practice.

"I opened up more," he explained. "I was open, but for some reason my gather wasn't there. One day, I got frustrated and opened up even more, and there it was. It helped me be a little bit smoother to the ball as opposed to a quick up-and-down movement, and I've been able to drive the ball better. I still strike out a lot, but when you drive the ball that's OK. I'm able to read the ball better and see spin, see speed, as opposed to it being just a quick up-and-down movement."

Naturally, the support was plenty for Dan Straily, who had gotten just six runs of support total in seven previous starts since the break. The righty allowed eight hits over six innings, but he only gave up one run in that span, walking two and fanning four along the way.

"If you can't find a way to win that ballgame," Straily said, smiling, "you're in a lot of trouble. Just a great day overall."

Following Straily's departure, lefty Brett Anderson made his first appearance since April 29, giving up three runs on five hits in three innings out of the bullpen, his second career relief outing -- and first save.

"That's how you draw it up," said Anderson.

Same goes for the series, right?

"I don't know how we're doing it against starters we've faced here the last three days, but we'll take it," said Melvin. "This is a tough place to play. You know you're always going to get a quality starter, and you know it's going to be a tough time getting through their lineup. We're fortunate to have won the first three games, that's for sure."

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