Tailgating since 8:30 a.m., a lot of A's fans showed up at O.co Coliseum to watch the pitcher who was the reason the fleece blanket given away Saturday said "American League West Division Champions," and not potentially "AL Champions."

On the mound, Justin Verlander tried not to think about the past or the A's nine-game winning streak.

But Verlander said the 35,067 fans who sold out the game "reminded me with their boos."

After defeating the A's twice in the AL Division Series last season, including a shutout in the fifth and deciding game at the Coliseum, Verlander and his team's three home runs helped the Tigers defeat the A's, 7-3, on Saturday in the place where he is the stubborn nemesis, the adversary who throws strikes even in the face of high-pitch-count adversity.

Verlander, 8-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 career starts against Oakland, was victorious yet again.

"He did what he normally does," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He did throw a lot of behind-in-the-count offspeed pitches, which he can do. That's the mark of a good pitcher. I wouldn't say he had his best stuff."

Facing a starting lineup without three of its top hitters -- Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes (both sustained injuries Friday), and Jed Lowrie (day off) -- Verlander (2-1) permitted just one run, three hits and three walks while striking out six. Despite helping Detroit improve to 6-5 on the season, he felt he could have done better.

"Obviously I would have liked to go longer than six [innings]," Verlander said. "Not executing on some pitches caused me to throw more than I had to."

Verlander got into some long counts and threw 111 pitches (75 strikes), but he faced three batters in three of his frames and never faced more than five in an inning.

Detroit used the long ball for its first five runs: a 468-foot moon shot by Torii Hunter in the third to tie it at 1, a go-ahead solo shot by Prince Fielder in the fourth and a three-run homer three batters later from Jhonny Peralta.

Fielder reached base in all four of his plate appearances, including two walks, and extended his hitting streak to eight games with 17 RBIs in the stretch.