It's been almost a decade to the day since Colon last beat the Tigers, a string of 12 generally ugly performances he'll hope to snap as he tries to lead Oakland to a ninth straight win in Friday night's rematch of last year's division series.
After a perfect six-game road trip, Oakland is 8-2 for the first time since 1992 and a high-powered offense has led the way. After registering one run and six hits in their first two games, the A's have outscored opponents 65-24 and totaled 97 hits in their last eight.
Each member of the starting lineup recorded a hit and Seth Smith had a team-high four on Thursday as Oakland completed a three-game sweep of division rival Los Angeles with an 8-1 victory.
"It's always great to get off to a good start, but you have to maintain it because it's a long season," manager Bob Melvin said. "If this was in the middle of the season and we had a run like this and they had a poor period, I don't think it would be significant. Those guys will go on a stretch where they play real well."
Colon will try to keep his club's streak going by building on a winning season debut. The right-hander gave up three runs over six innings in Saturday's 6-3 victory over Houston, his first appearance since his 50-game drug suspension.
Colon, though, could have a challenge earning another win Friday. He's 0-7 with a 7.67 ERA in 12 games - 11 starts - against Detroit since last beating the Tigers on April 13, 2003, with the White Sox.
Colon was tagged for eight runs in just 2 1-3 innings in his only matchup in 2012, a 10-6 home loss May 10.
After dropping two of three in Minnesota to open the season, Detroit went 4-2 on its first homestand. The Tigers (5-4) had 16 hits in the finale of that stay, an 11-1 rout of Toronto on Thursday, and have totaled 42 over their last three games.
"That's impressive," said Austin Jackson , the AL leader in triples in each of the last two seasons. "That's just another thing that makes you look up and say 'Wow, (Cabrera), he can do it all.'"
In the opener of a nine-game West Coast trip, the Tigers will send out Max Scherzer . The right-hander gave up one run and struck out seven in the first five innings of Saturday's season debut against the New York Yankees before running into trouble in the sixth.
Scherzer was charged with all three runs in that frame but got credit for an 8-4 victory. He'll try to earn another while denying Oakland its best start since 1990.
Scherzer was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three matchups with the A's last season, including Game 4 of the division series. Oakland won that one after taking advantage of Jose Valverde in a wild 9th inning, but lost 6-0 in Game 5.
This time, the A's will try to match their season-high nine-game win streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 2.
While Cabrera hit .388 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 12 games against the A's last season, Prince Fielder hit just .125.
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|March 22, 2013||Avisail Garcia||15-Day DL||Bruised right heel|
|April 10, 2013||Scott Sizemore||15-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|April 07, 2013||Josh Reddick||Day-to-Day||Sprained right wrist|
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 26, 2013||Adam Rosales||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|March 23, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 14, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Josh Donaldson never had a game-ending hit in one of Oakland's major league-high 14 walk-off wins last year.
His opposite-field home run with one out in the 12th inning Friday night extended the Athletics' winning streak to nine games with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of their playoff series last fall.
Donaldson's drive to right off Brayan Villarreal (0-2) was his first career game-ending hit.
"It was fun. This team has a bunch of great guys here and lots of players with the capability to win games," Donaldson said. "I never had a walk-off last year. Obviously it's special for me this year."
And in typical fashion for the reigning AL West champions, Josh Reddick found Donaldson with a pair of celebratory whipped cream pies - a scene reminiscent of those 14 walk-off wins last year.
Prince Fielder homered and had four hits for the Tigers, who beat Oakland in a five-game AL division series last season on their way to the World Series.
Ramon Santiago hit a two-out triple in the top of the 12th before Chris Resop (1-0) relieved Jerry Blevins and retired Austin Jackson on a fly to center.
The A's improved to an AL-best 9-2, just the third time in Oakland history the club has opened at least 9-2, also done in 1981 (11-0) and 1990 (9-2).
Only the Atlanta Braves at 9-1 have a better record than Oakland.
"We're trying to go out there and win a lot of games right now," Donaldson said.
Fielder hit a three-run shot and Max Scherzer struck out 11, but the Tigers didn't get enough from the bottom of their batting order. The last five hitters went a combined 2 for 25.
Reddick, Oakland's right fielder, received his Gold Glove before the game, and showed it off with a leaping catch of Victor Martinez 's deep fly to start the ninth.
Coco Crisp hit a tying, broken-bat single in the seventh but was replaced in the field in the top of the 10th after straining his left groin.
Fielder connected for his third home run with a drive to center in the third. He singled in the first and led off the sixth with a double, then singled again in the 11th. Fielder had two four-hit games last season.
Oakland hasn't lost since dropping its first two games of the year at home to Seattle.
The A's, coming off a 6-0 road trip through Houston and Anaheim, accomplished the 14th winning streak of nine games or more in Oakland history. They also have the second-longest winning streak in Oakland history during the month of April.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila was hit in the helmet on a backswing when Brandon Moss struck out in the eighth but stayed in the game after being examined. Moss was called for interference on the play and Yoenis Cespedes had to return to first.
Cespedes was then picked off for the third out, and landed hard on his left hand after a tumbling slide on the play. He was removed in the 11th, and X-rays on his hand were negative.
"We'll see how he is tomorrow," manager Bob Melvin said.
Arriving in California was a relief for the Tigers, who were coming off an 11-1 victory at home over the Blue Jays in which the first-pitch temperature was 35 degrees and the wind chill took it down to 26. Friday's temperature: 59 degrees.
"That's the proudest I've been of a team on any particular day I've ever managed," manager Jim Leyland said Friday. "Weather conditions were as bad as I've ever played in, managed in, or right up there with the all-time worst."
On Saturday afternoon, Tigers ace Justin Verlander faces lefty Brett Anderson . Verlander won the deciding Game 5 in Oakland last fall and the Tigers went on to sweep the Yankees in the AL championship series before getting swept by San Francisco in the World Series.
Reddick hit an RBI single in the sixth to pull his team to 3-2. Scherzer struck out the next three batters on 11 pitches.
Bartolo Colon struck out five and didn't walk a batter in seven innings while making his first home start since being suspended 50 games last Aug. 22 for a positive testosterone test.
Colon is 0-7 over his last 13 appearances and 12 starts against Detroit and hasn't beaten the Tigers since April 13, 2003.
Scherzer struck out the side in the sixth, his final inning. He allowed two runs and five hits with one walk.
"They caught up and finally won with a home run. We've got no complaints about that," Leyland said.
The Tigers committed their first error of the season in the third when Scherzer threw wildly past Miguel Cabrera at third trying to catch Eric Sogard stealing. Sogard scored on the play.
Crisp extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning bunt single, then stole his third and fourth bases of the year.
NOTES: Former Tigers closer Jose Valverde , who agreed to a minor league deal with Detroit last week, pitched one scoreless inning at extended spring training in Lakeland, Fla., against the Braves. He struck out one and walked one. ... The Tigers were one of only two AL clubs the A's had losing records against last year, dropping the season series 4-3. Oakland lost the series with Kansas City 5-4. ... Oakland had eight hits, the first time in nine games the A's didn't get 10 or more.