OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Rick Porcello allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, second baseman Ian Kinsler paced an 11-hit attack with two doubles and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the Oakland A's 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at O.co Coliseum.
The Tigers. who lead the American League Central, salvaged a split in the four-game series with Oakland, which leads the AL West.
Kinsler went 2-for-5, scored twice and drove in one run. Designated hitter Victor Martinez went 2-for-4 with a two-run double, raising his AL-leading average to .344.
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs and scored once. Right fielder Don Kelly and third baseman Nick Castellanos each had two hits for the Tigers, who entered the game batting an AL-best .273.
Shortstop Nick Punto hit his first home run for the Athletics, a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
The Tigers took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth before the A's scored two runs off closer Joe Nathan, who gave up a three-run, walk-off homer to third baseman Josh Donaldson on Wednesday night in a 3-1 Oakland win.
Donaldson hit a leadoff double and scored on left fielder Yoenis Cespedes' one-out single. Then with two outs, right fielder Josh Reddick roped an RBI double to right-center field.
Nathan walked Punto, but he retired pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie on a ground ball to Cabrera to notch his 13th save.
Porcello (8-2), coming off his worst start of the season on Saturday against Texas, allowed five hits, walked six and struck out four. He put at least two runners on base in every inning except a one-two-three third.
Porcello left the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, but reliever Ian Kroll retired pinch-hitter Derek Norris on a pop fly to Cabrera in foul territory.
A's right-hander Jesse Chavez (4-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and suffered his second straight loss. He struck out three, walked two and had at least one runner on base in five of the six innings he pitched.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the third. Kinsler hit a leadoff double, moved to third on Kelly's groundout to second and scored on Cabrera's RBI groundout to shortstop.
Oakland answered with two runs in the fourth when first baseman Alberto Callaspo walked with one out and Punto launched a two-run homer over the right-center field wall with two outs.
Punto, who missed the previous five games with a strained left calf, homered for the first time since Aug. 12 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was his 18th career home run in 13 seasons and snapped a 51-game homerless streak.
Detroit scored twice in the fifth, taking a 3-2 lead. Shortstop Andrew Romine hit a one-out single and scored on Kinsler's second double of the day. Kelly moved Kinsler to third with an infield single, and Kinsler scored on Cabrera's sacrifice fly.
The Tigers added two runs in the seventh on A's reliever Jim Johnson as Martinez delivered a two-run double.
NOTES: Oakland SS Jed Lowrie was out of the starting lineup on Thursday for just the sixth time this season. INF Nick Punto, who missed the previous five games with a strained left calf, started in Lowrie's place. "He's still dealing a little bit with his neck issue," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Lowrie. "Gets some stiffness, so this was a good time, once we felt like Punto (left calf strain) was fully healthy, to give Jed a day off after a night game and get Punto back in a game." Punto had missed five straight games. ... Tigers OF Rajai Davis (left shoulder contusion) was out of the starting lineup. He was injured Wednesday while making a diving catch in the second inning but stayed in the game until the bottom of the seventh. "I could have played the whole game if I had to," Davis said. "This is just to give it some time." ... A's RHP Ryan Cook (right forearm strain) threw his second bullpen session since going on the disabled list May 8 and said he expects to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Class A Stockton.