Our A's are back in the win column (and in a virtual tie for first place!) as their offense made the best use of seven hits ever, turning those hits into seven runs. Both starting pitchers were terrible tonight; neither made it out of the fifth inning, and it's really only a matter of baseball luck that Milone only managed to give up the three runs he did. Six hits and four walks will destroy a 6-0 lead, and despite Bob Melvin's best coaxing to get Milone through the 5th for the win, exactly no one wanted him to walk in any more runs. Interestingly enough, all runs in tonight's game came from the starters Arroyo and Milone; both bullpens were lights out. Neshek had a huge strikeout to end the fifth, and Blevins, Cook, Doolittle and Otero made the A's 7-3 lead hold up. Don't be fooled by the 4-run cushion; this game was a nail-biter in the middle innings.
The A's jumped out to the early lead in the second inning as Brandon Moss hit a one-out double and Josh Donaldson singled him to third. Josh Reddick doubled the first run in and NewCatcher Stephen Vogt recorded a sacrifice fly to score Donaldson, giving the A's the 2-0 lead. The A's would double that in the third inning as a Crisp walk, a Lowrie single and a Cespedes single (who put a good stroke on the ball tonight) scored the third run, and a Moss sac fly made the score 4-0. Up to the plate strode Josh Donaldson, who promptly unloaded a big-time homerun to left field to give the A's a 6-0 lead.
The Reds would chip back at the lead with a Votto homerun in the fourth (thankfully solo), but a terrific play by Cespedes in the field would nab Todd Frazier as he tried to stretch out his subsequent single. The A's would get the run back on a Crisp walk, a wild pitch, and a Smith single to increase the score to 7-1. The Reds added a sac fly in the fifth after a one-out double and infield single (PFP, Tommy) put two more Reds on. And then, Milone did something very un-Milone-like; he walked three batters in a row, walking in a run and closing the gap to 7-3.
Everyone on the A's had seen enough of Milone, and Neshek entered the game to end the fifth with a dramatic three-pitch strikeout with the bases loaded. The Reds would load the bases again in the sixth, but Jerry Blevins would work out of the jam, and the Reds wouldn't score again.
Neither would the A's, but they had their seven runs, and made them hold up, even with the less-than-desirable starting pitching performance. A win is a win, and Neshek will gladly accept his. The A's look to sweep the brief series tomorrow at 12:35PM before another day off in preparation for the big A's/St. Louis series this weekend.
I'll be your host for tomorrow's game; see you at noon for Griffin vs. Bailey.