Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson each hit their 12th home run and Yoenis Cespedes also went deep for the A’s, who broke out of their recent slump by getting homers from five players for the first time since 2009.
That backed another strong start from Tommy Milone (3-3), who allowed four hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings to improve to 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his past four starts.
The A’s got four solo homers against Drew Smyly to win the first meeting of the season against the team that eliminated them in Game 5 of the division series the past two postseasons.
Oakland returned home mired in its worst skid of the season, having scored seven runs in the four losses to Tampa Bay and Toronto.
That led to a pregame message on the clubhouse white board imploring the team to take the “slow torture” approach of grinding out at-bats rather than the “instant kill” of a home run that ends a rally rather than starts one.
The A’s broke out of their slump without following that advice as they got homers from five players for the first time since Jack Cust, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Ellis, Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington did it Sept. 11, 2009, at Minnesota.
After squandering a prime scoring chance in the first inning when Oakland put runners on first and third with no outs, the A’s got to Smyly with the longball.
Moss got it started with a drive that hit off the glove of a leaping Austin Jackson and went over the center-field fence in the second inning.
Two batters later, Blanks hit a no-doubt shot to left-center for his first home run since being acquired before the start of the team’s recent nine-game road trip.
Oakland wasn’t done, getting back-to-back shots from Donaldson and Cespedes in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead to the delight of the third sellout crowd of the season at the Coliseum.
Coco Crisp added a sacrifice fly and Donaldson hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to make it 6-0.
Norris hit his first career grand slam in the eighth off Phil Coke in a rally helped by a catcher’s interference against Bryan Holaday and an error by third baseman Nick Castellanos.
NOTES: Oakland is 20-3 when scoring first. ... Smyly was the first Tigers pitcher to allow four homers in a game since Max Scherzer did it in a 10-7 win over the Yankees on April 3, 2011. ... Miguel Cabrera started at 1B for the Tigers a day after leaving early with a right hamstring cramp. 2B Ian Kinsler got the day off. ... Scherzer (6-1) starts for Detroit on Tuesday against Sonny Gray (5-1) in a matchup of two of the top starters in baseball.