DETROIT -- The A's outfield is undergoing some wholesale changes these days, changes reflected in Monday's 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Josh Reddick is on the disabled list. Brandon Moss is in right field in his place. And Coco Crisp looks like a new man.
Crisp had three hits, including his 100th career homer, and first baseman Daric Barton, Reddick's replacement on the roster, had two tiebreaking singles as the A's jumped out to an 8-4 lead by scoring in six innings before surviving two harrowing bases-loaded situations in the late going.
In addition to his offense, Crisp made a terrific diving catch in the eighth inning to limit what could have been a breakthrough inning for Detroit to a single run.
"He's a good sparkplug for us," winning pitcher A.J. Griffin said. "When he's going good, the A's are usually going good. I'm just glad he's on our side."
Crisp has been on the A's side all along, but an injured left wrist limited his production to a fraction of what he expects from himself. He took a cortisone shot, then the better part of a week off, and he's been a new man since his return.
He has nine hits in his 18 at-bats on this trip and has homered four times in his last five starts. There's lots of action at the top of the lineup, and that means the middle of the lineup has more chances to be productive.
"I have good games and I have bad ones," Crisp said in a philosophical bent. "Today was one of the good ones. There's no telling what tomorrow holds."
That's certainly true for Barton, the A's regular first baseman from 2008-10 who is up with the A's for the second time this year after spending much of the season with Triple-A Sacramento. Barton said he doubted he would be called up even when the rosters expand from 25 to 40 players Sept. 1, but now he's the A's regular against right-handed pitching again.
"Things are good," Barton said. He singled in the fourth to break a 2-all tie, then singled again in the sixth after Miguel Cabrera's 43rd homer for the Tigers had pulled Detroit even at 4-4. From that point on, Barton, Crisp and Alberto Callaspo singled home runs, and Jed Lowrie contributed an RBI double as the A's pushed their lead to four runs.
"It was definitely nice that we continued (to add on runs)," Crisp said.
Oakland needed all of that, because the Tigers loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth innings. The seventh inning was particularly compelling drama because A's manager Bob Melvin intentionally walked Cabrera, last year's Triple Crown winner, rather than face him with two men on.
Melvin then asked struggling lefty Sean Doolittle to face Prince Fielder, who Melvin said "thrives in those situations. But you have to do what is practical."
The Tigers' cleanup hitter flew out ... to Crisp, naturally.
"In that situation I'm not trying to do geometry," Doolittle said when asked if he was trying to keep the ball in the big part of the park from left-center to right-center. He just wanted an out.
He got it, as did Ryan Cook, facing Torii Hunter an inning later with the bases again full as the A's beat the team with the best record in the American League after having lost six of their previous eight games.
"This is something to build off," Griffin, who gave up two two-run homers but otherwise pitched well. "This was a good team win. It's nice to win the first one of four."
A's (Tommy Milone 9-9) at Detroit (Justin Verlander 12-9), 4:08 p.m. CSNCA