In the 17th season of interleague play in MLB, the Oakland Athletics had never made the trip to Milwaukee to face the Brewers at Miller Park. In fact, they had only played the Brewers themselves once in Oakland since the Brewers moved to the National League after the 1997 season. After tonight, the Brew Crew would probably like it if the Athletics went back to the American League and stayed there.
There’s no other way to put tonight’s victory than as completely dominant. The Athletics outclassed the Brewers in just about every facet of the game, and it began and ended with Tommy Milone.
The soft tossing lefty has had a tough time pitching effectively on the road during his time with the Athletics, but tonight he kept the Brewers off balance save for one or two mistakes to Rickie Weeks. One of those mistakes was deposited over the wall in left-center field for a 2 run home run, the second was initially thought to be a home run, but was reviewed and overturned at the request of Bob Melvin. Many believed Weeks’ ball had hit the wall behind the fence above the yellow line, but to me it appeared to bounce up off the top of the wall and back down onto the field. Weeks was put back at third base, and Milone would retire the next batter to end the inning without a run crossing the plate.
All told, in getting his 6th win Milone pitched 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 ER, walking none, and striking out 2. But his performance wasn’t limited to the mound, he also went 2 for 4 with an RBI as part of the Athletics 10 run attack.
Speaking of that attack, every member of the starting lineup had a hit, and everyone but Eric Sogard had an RBI. The scoring got started on the first at bat of the night when Coco Crisp hit another lead off home run on the second pitch of the game, his 6th of the year. Brandon Moss would unload on a Marco Estrada pitch in the 2nd inning for his 8th home run of 2013. The big inning for the Athletics would come in the top of the 5th when John Jaso and Yoenis Cespedes started things of with singles (infield for Cespedes), and Jed Lowrie narrowly missed a 3 run home run which ended up being his 18th two-bagger of the year to drive in Jaso (Estrada injured his leg on that pitch and was removed from the game). Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick each followed with RBI singles of their own. Brandon Moss grounded out for the second out of the inning (Donaldson had been caught stealing earlier), and Eric Sogard was intentionally walked to bring up pitcher Tommy Milone to theoretically snuff out the rally. Milone had other ideas as he slapped a soft line drive to left-center to drive in Reddick. John Jaso would cap the rally with his second single of the inning, this time to drive in two more runs for the A’s.
The game was put into cruise control from that point on. An error on a would-be double play ball from Yoenis Cespedes would allow the final 2 runs to score for the A’s. Hideki Okajima and Jesse Chavez would work the 8th and 9th innings in mop up duty without incident.
Coco Crisp nearly hit for the cycle, just missing the triple, but he went 4 for 5 on the night with 2 runs and the solo homer; John Jaso went 3 for 5 with a run and 2 RBI. Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie, Josh Donaldson, and Josh Reddick each contributed 2 hits.
The Athletics are now 35-24, and move to just 1.5 games behind the idle Texas Rangers. The good times continue to roll for the green and gold. A.J. Griffin (5-4, 4.04 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow, looking to rebound from his loss versus the Giants on Thursday. He’ll be opposed by Kyle Lohse (1-6, 4.37 ERA) who has not lived up to expectations after being signed to a three year contract by the Brewers after an extended period of time sitting on the free agent market. Lohse is very similar to Marco Estrada, a right hander who won’t blow you away and needs to have precise location to be effective. He wasn’t precise in his last start against the Twins, and they lit him up for 6 runs and 4 home runs. The A’s have to be foaming at the mouth to get a piece of him tomorrow.