OAKLAND -- Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis was not in the starting lineup on Thursday because of a sore left shoulder, but he was available to play off the bench.
Davis said he could have finished Wednesday's game, which he exited after the top of the seventh, "if I needed to," but he was given a rest to "just give it some time."
Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said he held Davis out of Thursday's series finale with the Oakland Athletics because of the shoulder soreness.
"I didn't want to throw him back in there the next day," Ausmus said. "He's still a little sore. I can't say, if he didn't hurt his shoulder, he would have been out of the lineup. He's not in the lineup because of the shoulder."
Outfielder Torii Hunter, who hit solo home runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, was also out of the starting lineup, but for a different reason.
"I give Torii a day off because he's old, and you can tell him I said that," Ausmus said, smiling. "I played when I was his age. We need Torii for the long haul."
Left-handed-hitter Don Kelly took Hunter's place in the lineup.
Ausmus not concerned about Nathan
OAKLAND -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus sees nothing out of the ordinary with closer Joe Nathan, who said Wednesday night's game turned when John Jaso singled off the glove of third baseman Nick Castellanos ahead of Josh Donaldson's walk-off home run.
"Any time you remove or add a baserunner to the scenario, it changes the game," Ausmus said on Thursday. "One runner on it's the tying run. The second runner becomes the winning run."
In essence, Nathan suggested that allowing Jaso to reach base meant he had to come after Donaldson in the strike zone rather than pick away at the corners.
"Anything can change an inning," Ausmus said. "The way [Jaso's] ball was hit, it appeared to be hit harder than it was. That throws your depth perception off. It's the same thing when an outfielder breaks back first and then has to race in to make a play. In the infield, it comes at you that much quicker."
It was Nathan's fourth blown save of the season, coming one day after he recorded his 12th save in a one-run victory.
"It's relatively typical for a closer," Ausmus said. "It seems like they blow a couple of saves and then have a long run of saves. It always seems to happen that way. I'm not concerned about him."
Nathan allowed two runs in the ninth but held on for his 13th save on Thursday.
Ausmus considered letting Anibal finish game
OAKLAND -- Anibal Sanchez came within two outs of recording the Tigers' first complete game of the season on Wednesday night, something Detroit manager Brad Ausmus took into consideration.
"It was his third game back from the disabled list," Ausmus said. "We need him for the entire season. If I leave him in and he ends up losing, I'd be kicking myself for not taking him out."
The reality of today's game is that a pitcher starts to lose his effectiveness after 100 pitches.
"A lot of that has to do with the development," Ausmus said. "Guys don't get into the habit of pitching into the seventh, eighth or ninth innings. The bullpen has become specialized."
Ausmus said there are a handful of pitchers, including on his own team, who would want to finish games.
"Clayton Kershaw is a guy like that," he said. "His feeling is when it gets to the ninth, he's better than anyone you could bring in."
Ausmus said he didn't want to have to take Sanchez out in the ninth.
"We all wanted him to finish the game," he said.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.