Brown hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning to spoil a strong outing by Moyer, and Joe Blanton ended a four-start losing streak as the Oakland Athletics beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Tuesday night.
“I was hoping to see something up and put a good swing on it,” Brown said. “That was the best chance I could give myself the way he was pitching tonight.”
Jack Cust, 2-for-21 over his previous six games, added a two-run shot in the eighth for his 12th homer of the year to help Oakland hand the Phillies their season-high sixth straight loss.
Blanton’s teammates were thrilled to put him back in the win column, too.
Blanton (4-10) allowed Pat Burrell’s 19th home run in the fourth but didn’t make many other mistakes in a solid, 119-pitch performance. He avoided matching the worst losing streak of his career, a five-game skid in his rookie year of 2005. Blanton, who is the fastest pitcher to reach 10 losses in Oakland history, improved to 2-7 at home. His quick work helped the game take just 2 hours, 24 minutes.
“It was a good start,” he said. “I really went out there and put a lot of focus into this game. I wanted to have a quality start. I was just trying to focus and put everything in every pitch. I was trying to stay as level as possible (during this stretch). I wasn’t doing a great job at it.
“It’s just one of those things as a starter, if you stick around long enough you get a bounce or two your way.”
The 45-year-old Moyer had nine strikeouts for the first time since July 28, 2004, also against the A’s while with Seattle, but Philadelphia started slowly on a nine-game trip that also takes them to Texas and Atlanta.
“That’s not me,” Moyer said of his high strikeout count. “I’d rather have one and be in the eighth inning. How many did I have?”
Alan Embree relieved in the eighth and allowed Ryan Howard’s RBI single, but he struck out Burrell to end the inning. Huston Street pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances after blowing a save Friday night against Florida and taking the loss Saturday.
Oakland (42-34) is back to a season-best eight games over .500 for the third time this year.
Brown was 2-for-13 lifetime against Moyer (7-5) before connecting for his sixth homer. He has struggled recently and his playing time hasn’t been as consistent.
“If anything, there’s always one person who believes in me no matter what and that’s me,” Brown said.
After Kurt Suzuki led off the game with an infield single, Moyer didn’t allow another hit until Ryan Sweeney’s leadoff single in the seventh—the first of four hits off Moyer that inning. He walked Jack Hannahan in the second, then retired the next 13 A’s in order.
The soft-tossing lefty got called third strikes on three consecutive batters, too, and struck out four in a row—including striking out the side in the sixth.
“We’ve got to kick ourselves and come out of it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re not hitting and we know we can hit. We haven’t scored 400 runs to this part of the season for nothing.”
Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins returned home to the East Bay after playing in San Francisco last month. He grew up about 10 minutes away in Alameda and said he was leaving 24 tickets for family and friends.
“Don’t call me, call my mom,” said Rollins, who also played an interleague series in Oakland in 2005. “First come, first serve.”
This marked the first game featuring two native Hawaiians from the island of Maui—Oakland catcher Suzuki and Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino. They grew up five minutes apart attending different high schools and Victorino went to kindergarten with Suzuki’s big sister. Their parents had lunch together earlier Tuesday.
“Shane was probably stealing surfboards and not bases back then,” Rollins joked.
Suzuki and Victorino patted each other on the back side when Victorino came to the plate in the first. He singled and then stole his 18th base in the eighth.
Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez was a late scratch because of a sore right shoulder that also kept him out Sunday.
A’s hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo was ejected in the fifth by plate umpire Jeff Nelson for arguing balls and strikes.
A’s 2B Mark Ellis was not feeling well and didn’t play. Suzuki batted leadoff in the spot where Ellis has been hitting. … Phillies DH Geoff Jenkins saw his hitless streak reach 0-for-22 after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. … Oakland reliever Joey Devine, on the DL with inflammation in his right elbow, played catch from 200 feet and could throw off the mound as soon as Thursday. … Oakland extended its errorless streak to a season-best eight games, but it took a change by the official scorer. 3B Hannahan bobbled a grounder by Jayson Werth in the seventh but it was later ruled a single.