Tigers lose in 10th, fall season-high 5 1/2 back in Central

" Hero: Dan Johnson lined the game-winning single to right.

" Figure this: Joel Zumaya earned his second loss in four games since returning from the DL.

" Hunt for October: Detroit remains three games back of wild card-leading New York, which lost to Tampa Bay 9-1.

" Quotable: "We had a chance pick up a game in the wild-card race and we let that slip away. I know Cleveland won. I don't need to talk about that. If they lose, that's a bonus. We have to win games. If we don't win, it doesn't matter what anybody else does." -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland

-- ESPN.com news services

Athletics 5, Tigers 4 (10 innings)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jim Leyland's Detroit Tigers need a big September and must turn things around in a hurry -- before the defending AL champions' playoff hopes are history.

Dan Johnson lined the game-winning single to right with none out in the 10th inning, lifting the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory Friday night and dropping the Tigers a season-high 5 1/2 games back in the AL Central.

With its third loss in four games, Detroit fell further behind division-leading Cleveland, which beat the Chicago White Sox 8-5. The Tigers remained three games back of the wild card-leading Yankees, who lost 9-1 at home to Tampa Bay.

"We had a chance pick up a game in the wild-card race and we let that slip away," Leyland said. "I know Cleveland won. I don't need to talk about that. If they lose, that's a bonus. We have to win games. If we don't win, it doesn't matter what anybody else does."

Mike Piazza doubled to start the 10th against Joel Zumaya (1-3), then J.J. Furmaniak entered to pinch run and hustled home to just beat out the throw.

Johnson's job was to move the runner to third, but he did much more. Piazza, too.

"Mike Piazza hit a guy throwing a 100 mph fastball," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He got the head out. That was a big hit."

Johnson, Jack Hannahan and Jack Cust homered for the A's. Huston Street (3-2) blew his third save chance but recovered with a perfect 10th featuring two strikeouts for the win. Street, the 2005 AL Rookie of the Year, also blew a save Wednesday.

"I made it tough on our team the last two [games]," Street said. "But they made it easier on me. I'll step it up."

The A's missed a chance in the ninth. Fernando Rodney allowed a one-out walk to Shannon Stewart before a mound visit from Leyland. He then got Nick Swisher and Jeff DaVanon on called third strikes.

Oakland's Joe Blanton struck out six in seven innings to bounce back from a loss last week at Tampa Bay, but he didn't get the win to show for it. Blanton's strikeouts Friday established a new single-season career high for Ks with 122. He started the day with 116, which equaled his total from his rookie season of 2005.

The A's picked up their second straight victory following a five-game skid. The Tigers took an early 2-0 lead, then rallied with two runs in the ninth to tie the game.

Carlos Guillen had an RBI triple in the second and Placido Polanco also tripled for Detroit, which lost two of three in the Coliseum from July 30 to Aug. 1.

Guillen singled for his third hit of the game to start the ninth against Street, then Ivan Rodriguez singled to put runners on the corners.

After Brandon Inge flied out to shallow right to keep Guillen at third, Street received a mound visit from pitching coach Curt Young. Pinch-hitters Timo Perez and Sean Casey each followed by driving in runs.

The A's lead the season series 5-3, but Detroit is the team still in the playoff chase a season after the Tigers eliminated Oakland in a four-game AL championship series sweep.

"We have to concentrate on us," Rodriguez said. "We can't think about anybody. This was a tough game to lose but we can't do anything about it. We have to look forward and stay strong."

Hannahan homered in the second for the A's, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Cust led off the fourth with his 23rd homer of the season, a towering shot that clanked off the high facade in straightaway center field and fell back onto the field. Johnson connected two batters later for his 14th homer, then Mark Ellis doubled to shallow right. Marco Scutaro singled him home for a 4-2 lead.

Blanton allowed five hits and two runs, walking one batter. He has allowed one or fewer walks in each of his last five outings.

The Tigers got three straight hits to start the second against Blanton. Magglio Ordonez singled to start the inning with his team's first hit of the night, then Guillen tripled to right and Rodriguez followed with an RBI single.

Swisher made a leaping over-the-shoulder catch in center field to steal an extra-base hit from Cameron Maybin for the second out of the inning. Swisher received a standing ovation and tipped his glove when he came into the dugout afterward.

Tigers starter Virgil Vasquez allowed four runs and six hits in four innings, struck out one and didn't walk a batter. The right-hander was called up Thursday from Triple-A Toledo to make his third major league start after the Tigers opted to keep Chad Durbin available out of the bullpen.

Detroit lost for the third time in four games. The Tigers dropped two of three at Kansas City after taking three of four from the Yankees at home. After this Bay Area trip, they have a day off Monday before beginning a 10-game homestand.

Game notes
Guillen hit his ninth triple of the year, and Polanco his third. ... Blanton went 3-1 with a 4.14 ERA in August. ... The A's announced three players would be lost for the remainder of the season -- six-time Gold Glove 3B Eric Chavez, CF Mark Kotsay and rookie OF Travis Buck.