But then…something different happened. Instead of rolling over for the next 24 outs, the A's actually put together a real offense, scoring runs in multiple innings, while Tommy Milone dusted himself off and set down 16 out of 17 Mariners to finish his first outing with seven strong innings and 102 pitches.
There was no doubt that Milone was hit hard early (even with the outs he recorded), but he showed great poise and resilience by shaking it all off and turning what could have been a disaster into a gem. When all was said and done, Milone finished with seven innings, four hits, two runs, one walk, four strikeouts and his first--and the A's first--win. Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless eighth, and thanks to a nifty catch by Cespedes, Chris Resop pitched a perfect ninth.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, Jed Lowrie finished his day 3 for 3 with a walk, and with 3 of the A's 6 runs batted in. He was the clear star, but every starter except Josh Reddick (seriously, shave already) had at least one hit. In his Major League debut, Nate Freiman collected two hits of his own (his third at-bat resulted in a laser out) and a nifty Coliseum-foul-territory catch to seal his successful start.
This lineup was much more successful than the previous one. Granted, they faced the likes of Joe Saunders, whom they knocked out after four innings and 88 pitches, but a win is a win.
Still down 2-0 in the second inning, Donaldson doubled and Norris walked to start the inning. Josh "The Beard Is a Rally-Killer" Reddick promptly grounded into a double play, but luckily, rookie Nate Freiman singled Donaldson in from third for the A's first run of the game. Scott Sizemore followed that trick with a double of his own as we discovered the weakness. Freiman can hit, he can field, but wow; he can't run. Think Bengie Molina and calendars. He was out at home by a mile to end the inning. Of course you send the runner with two outs, but Gallego got unlucky with a perfect play combined with turtle-like speed.
The A's got something going again in the third inning as Crisp doubled to lead off, Lowrie walked, and Young walked, bringing up Cespedes. He gave it a ride, but had to settle for a game-tying sacrifice fly, and the A's were turned away from more. It would take one more inning for them to break through. Reddick opened the fourth with a rare walk, and Freiman collected his second single. After Sizemore struck out on a questionable 3-2 pitch, and Crisp grounded out, Lowrie punched a double through center field to score both runs, and give the A's a lead they would never put in jeopardy.
Just for fun, for the fans, and to show off, Lowrie and Young went back-to-back in the seventh to give the A's six runs on the night. Someone has to say it: I want Chris Young in the lineup every day.
All in all, it was a highly successful, much-needed win, which should make us all feel better about our team and this season. Now the A's have to finish the job; they will go for a split tomorrow at 12:35PM. A.J. Griffin vs. Brandon Maurer. People, we have a win.
If you want to relive the game threads, go here.