Game #44: Deja Vu; A's Win 2-1 Behind Timely Offense and Milone's Gutsy Start

Ezra Shaw

For the second night in a row, the A's collect a 2-1 win behind a strong starting pitching performance and timely hitting. The offense had only six hits yesterday and only five tonight, but they made them count, and in front of a sold-out crowd, hungry for A's fireworks, the A's came through.

Why hello there, Miss .500. Don't you look particularly fetching tonight. We certainly have missed you.

It wasn't as pretty and flashy as last night's start, but Tommy Milone's gritty, gutsy and ultimately wildly successful six innings helped lead the A's to their second consecutive victory, and their first two-game win streak in the month of May. Believe it or not, it's the first time the A's have won back-to-back games scoring two runs or fewer since May 14-15, 1993.

Milone had runners all over the bases tonight, including the bases-loaded, no outs jam in the second inning, but he managed to scatter his five hits and three walks in a most opportune fashion. The only run Milone allowed today was in the very first inning. After a two-out rocket double by Alex Gordon, Billy Butler dropped the softest of fly balls into the outfield to score the run.

The A's, like last night, didn't rally until the late innings. Josh Donaldson doubled with one out in the second inning, and Eric Sogard made a bid for a one-out double of his own in the third, but was thrown out at second base. Aside from those hits and a walk in the fifth inning, the A's had no success against Ervin Santana until the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Royals were having tons of success against Milone with putting runners on base, but little success in scoring them. After the single run scored in the first, Milone loaded the bases in the second with a single and two walks. Everyone braced for the big inning, but thanks to a pop-up and two strikeouts (one looking, one swinging), it never materialized. Milone was well over 60 pitches after the first two innings, and he walked the first batter in the third, but got a double-play to record two quick outs. Things didn't get easier in the fourth, as he gave up a leadoff double, but after a flyout, Milone would record two more strikeouts to end the inning and keep the Royals off the scoreboard. Milone would allow only a single the rest of the way, and thanks to the A's timely offense in the sixth, would end up with the win.

Eric Sogard doubled for real to start the sixth inning for the A's, and during Coco Crisp's at-bat, moved to third on a wild pitch. After Crisp walked, Jed Lowrie connected on the game-tying sacrifice fly, and with two-outs, Brandon Moss tripled in Crisp to give the A's what would be the game-winning run.

Taking a page right out of the bullpen script, Cook, Doolittle and Balfour each pitched their own inning in relief to secure the win for the A's. Cook and Doolittle were perfect, and Balfour was wild, including walking the lead-off batter, but ultimately effective.

So the A's win, and keep pace with Texas, but most importantly, get back to .500 on the season. They have won this weekend's series against the Royals and will go for the sweep tomorrow at 1:05. Mendoza vs. Griffin; Nico will be your host.

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