Don't look now but the A's are just 3 games back in the wild card. The first one. For realsies. Before Tommy Milone even threw a pitch, he had a 4-0 lead thanks to a Reddick single, Cespedes RBI double, a Moss HBP, and then the Wrath Of Trogdor: A 3-run HR by Chris Carter.
Cespedes added a two-run HR in the 3rd, Seth Smith a solo HR in the 5th, and Brandon Moss a solo HR in the 6th -- his 11th HR in 27 games. Smith added a triple later for 7 total bases, a nice way of rewarding Bob Melvin for putting him in the #2 spot many ANers have been calling for. However, the decision was borne more of circumstance as Coco Crisp was scratched due to a shoulder tweaked during a swing yesterday.
Meanwhile, Milone cruised through 5 innings allowing just a solo HR to the mighty "sultan of very occasionally" Brian Dozier. The 6th, which Milone entered leading 8-1, proved to be a challenge. A leadoff walk to Joe Mauer was followed by a spinning infield hit against the shift by Josh Willingham, then a shift-defying RBI single to left by Justin Morneau. Milone thought he had Trevor Plouffe struck out on a pitch, well, kind of down the middle, but after not getting the call served up a line drive single to load the bases, still with nobody out. A chopper back to the mound, and a one-hopper to SS, later Milone was out of the mess with just the one run scoring and the A's pretty much cruised from there.
With the win, Milone's 9 victories put him second in the league among rookies behind only Yu Darvish. Darvish will be stuck on 10 after tonight, as the Rangers are trailing Felix Hernandez and the Mariners 7-0 and Darvish has just left the game.
It's nice when suddenly you're not even sure which wild card you're gunning for. Ladies and gentlemen, your slugging Oakland A's.