The A's nearly pulled out a victory today in a game in which they recorded exactly two hits until the ninth inning, where they put on their usual teAse. Granted, both were solo homeruns, one by John Jaso to lead off the A's half of the first inning to tie the game, and one by Josh Donaldson to give the A's the lead in the fourth, but the bullpen just could not continue to hold down Jose Abreu; he struck the big blow to put the A's down in the eighth. It's hard to say that the A's should have won a game in which they were outhit 9-3, but at the same time, their bullpen needed just 5 more outs to steal one from the White Sox.
On a day when the ball was simply flying out of the Coliseum in today's heat, Tommy Milone gave the A's every chance to win this one. He didn't pitch eight innings this time, but he did throw six nearly perfect innings, allowing just 5 hits, one earned run (the first pitch of the game), while striking out four. A most interesting note; of the 23 batters he faced today, he threw all but one batter a first-pitch strike. He was a pitching machine today, and ended up with nothing to show for it. With the exception of the first pitch of the game, he kept the White Sox off the board, and relinquished the ball to Dan Otero for the seventh, with the A's leading 2-0. Otero induced 3 ground balls to close the seventh, something the pitchers after him might want to have noted.
Milone's only struggles were in the fourth inning as the White Sox won a challenge that turned a lead-off strikeout into lead-off hit-by-pitch, and an amazing play in the fifth inning off the wall and subsequent relay by Yoenis Cespdes and Eric Sogard to home to throw out a runner trying to score, which elicited the awesome line "he's a dead duck at the plate" from Ken Korach.
But the game was 2-1 in the eighth inning when Abad gave up two one-out singles to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. He was replaced by Luke Gregerson, who ostensibly was in to get out the 2014 Rookie of the Year, Jose Abreu, but he failed spectacularly. I don't think the ball has landed yet. Just like that, the A's were down 4-2. Granted, it was one bad pitch, and it was to the best rookie in the game, so it's not a travesty; just not very fun on a sun-splashed day when the A's wanted 7 in a row.
The A's would get a lead-off walk in the ninth, bringing up Donaldson as the tying run, but he singled for the A's third hit of the day, and instead of walking off, Moss hit into the double play that all but ended the inning. A shame on a day when everything hit in the air went out.
But sweeping the Nationals and taking 2 out of 3 from the White Sox is about as good as it gets, so let's take that and run with it as the A's fly to Cleveland tomorrow, and then Tampa Bay, and then Toronto, where they will finish the series in Toronto next Sunday, and then play a day game on Monday...at home in Oakland. Yes, I'm serious. But if the A's can keep the pitching rolling, and find a way to collect more than three hits, we might have something here.
I'll be back Friday for all of your action!