Game #25: Gavin McLeod's 2-hitter bests A's, Milone 5-1

"Come aboard...I'm 2-hitting you..." - Bob Levey

I think that's what his name was. I didn't quite catch it, but I know he came into this season 0-8 for his career with an ERA barely below 9.00. Cleverly backing up one belt-high hanging slider to Josh Donaldson with another one (because apparently that's how you strike A's hitters out today), Collin McHugh came within one out of a complete game shutout. Seriously. And I want 3 hours of my life back.

The A's threatened in the top of the 1st when with one out, Jed Lowrie singled. It was the kind of hit that screams "we won't get another hit until two outs in the 9th!!!" Walks to Donaldson and Callaspo loaded the bases, but Josh Reddick flied out -- starting a run of 24 outs in between hits for the Oakland A's against the captain of the Love Boat.

Tommy Milone was pretty brilliant today, but the final line won't reflect it. Through 6⅔ IP he allowed just one run and that run should not have scored. In the bottom of the 3rd, Jonathan Villar doubled wtih one out and Milone subsequently picked him off -- at least according to the replay. Strangely Eric Sogard, who caught the throw and applied the quick tag, did not argue and perhaps as a result Bob Melvin did not so much as leave the dugout. Had the A's challenged the call, and had the fine folks in New York seen exactly what I saw, Villar would have been deemed "clearly and conclusively out".

Instead, Villar was moved to 3B on a Jose Altuve single. On a 2-2 pitch to Dexter Fowler, Milone appeared to paint the inside corner with a cutter but he did not get the call, Fowler then chopped a curve weakly to 3B, too slowly for Callaspo to make a play to the plate. The out was recorded at 1B, the run scored, and it was 1-0 Astros.

It stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the 7th, when the Astros put 2 runners on with 2 outs. The Astros may be no great team at this point, but their middle infielders are the real deal. Villar tripled to left-center field, driving home 2 runs and driving Milone to cover.

Dan Otero came on to face Altuve and on the first pitch he surrendered his first ever big league HR (64 IP), a 2-run bomb to LF that gave Houston a 5-0 lead. If you want one positive along with Milone's excellent effort, it's that Jim Johnson pitched a dominant 8th, throwing 10 pitches, all strikes, fanning 2 in a 1-2-3 frame.

At this point it mainly became about whether or not the A's would suffer the humiliation of being shutout by Gavin McLeod Collin McHugh. Almost. Brandon Moss was hit by a pitch with 2 outs, something everyone but home plate umpire Paul Emmel saw (his no-call was overturned on replay). Moss stole 2B as Villar kneed him in the head (fun!), and scored on Callaspo's single -- otherwise known as "the A's other hit".

Honestly, I think Fred Grandy and Lauren Tewes could have combined on a 4-hitter against the A's today. While Milone hasn't pitched badly at all, the A's are now 0-5 in his starts. They'll turn to Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Chavez against the Rangers, and the A's have fared better in their starts. Matched up against Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, and Robbie Ross, the A's might want to bring their "A-game" to Arlington.

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