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OAK@HOU: Colon solid in A's victory over Astros

The Tigers had no trouble shrugging off a blown five-run lead Wednesday, and stormed to an easy 11-1 victory Thursday to win the rubber match against the Blue Jays.

On Friday, Detroit will run into a red-hot Oakland squad that, despite its injuries, has won eight straight games.

The A's win streak is the result of an offense that can't be stopped, scoring 65 runs in those eight contests.

Expected to return for Oakland is Josh Reddick, who missed the Angels series with a sprained wrist.

"I was pretty worried," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Reddick. "Just the look of it was ugly, but it doesn't surprise me that he's responding this quick."

Last season's team leader in home runs with 32, Reddick is also the A's player with the best results against Detroit starter Max Scherzer.

Reddick is 3-for-5 in limited action against the Tigers righty but is one of only a handful of players who've had at-bats against the six-year man.

The biggest problem for the Tigers early in the season has been their bullpen, which already has two blown saves on the season and cost the team a sweep of Toronto when Brayan Villarreal and Darin Downs blew a five-run lead Wednesday.

"We didn't throw strikes out of the bullpen," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That pretty much sums it up."

The problem for the Tigers is that they have yet to decide on a closer, although it appears that Joaquin Benoit holds the role temporarily.

"I'm going to use anybody at any time," Leyland said. "We've got 12 pitchers, fellas, might as well use them all."

For the most part they haven't needed to turn to the bullpen too often, needing only eight innings from their relief core against Toronto.

Starting for the Athletics will be Bartolo Colon, who allowed three runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts against the Astros on Saturday.

"He works really quick, throws a lot of strikes and keeps you in the game," said shortstop Jed Lowrie after his last outing.

Scherzer starts for the Tigers, getting a rematch against an A's team that handed him a hard-luck loss in the AL Division Series last October. In Scherzer's first start, against the Yankees, seven of his 15 outs came by strikeout, which is much of the same seen from the righty last year when he struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings.

For the Tigers, this trip marks their only West Coast swing of the season, which is good news in a dreary April for the Tigers, as it's been cold and rainy in Detroit all week.

"The one thing about it is we should not be sitting around worrying whether we're going to get the game in or not. We should get in a flow where we're playing 10 straight days with the exception of that off-day Monday," Leyland said.

Athletics: Moss showing he belongs in the big leagues
• Brandon Moss is off to a solid start this season and has been unstoppable since the Houston series. The big man has two home runs and 10 RBIs in his past five games. Last season Moss didn't play his first game until June 6 against Texas and was generally considered a career Minor Leaguer until emerging with 21 home runs in 2012.

• Colon will be making his first start at O.co Coliseum since Aug. 18, his last start before being suspended for 50 games for PED use.

Tigers: Offense leading the charge for Detroit
• The Tigers offense scored 17 runs versus the Blue Jays starting pitchers, with none of them getting out of the fifth inning.

• A lot of the damage continues to come from the top four in the Tigers lineup. Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder are all hitting well above .300, and the quartet went 8-for-16, with nine RBIs in Thursday's contest against Toronto.

• Andy Dirks gunned down Melky Cabrera at home on Thursday, recording his first outfield assist of the season. Dirks had only one all of last season with 605 1/3 innings in the field.

Worth noting
• Tigers starters pitched in a combined 20 innings against the Blue Jays, with only Rick Porcello not making it into the seventh frame.

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