Athletics break out lumber, crush Brewers

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Offense has, at times, been a particularly frustrating part of the Oakland Athletics game this season.
Despite a second-place standing in the American League West, the Athletics' team batting average of .247 puts them 11th in the league. Situational hitting has been an even bigger problem, though Bob Melvin's group is starting to show signs of a turnaround.
The latest evidence, however might be the most encouraging yet, as Oakland pounded out a season-high 19 hits in a 10-2 victory over the Brewers Monday night at Miller Park.
"It's something you constantly work on," Melvin said. "The last couple of weeks we haven't been great about it.
"I think the league average is 55 percent with a man on third and less than two outs. I don't know where we fall into that lately, but the at-bats tonight were good by everybody."
Coco Crisp led the way with a 4-for-5 night that included a home run, a walk and two runs scored. John Jaso had three hits and two RBIs and five others finished with two hits each.
Even starting pitcher Tommy Milone got into the act, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and scoring twice, becoming the first Oakland pitcher to record a multihit game since Edgar Gonzalez in June 2009.
"His first at-bat in the big leagues was a grand slam," Melvin said. "When he takes batting practice he looks like a hitter. Seems like every at-bat he's had this year, even in spring training, was a good at-bat."
Milone's contributions at the plate were impressive, but his performance on the mound was practically dominant.
The left-hander scattered five hits over seven innings, allowing just two runs while striking out four. He retired 12 of his first 14 batters before a leadoff single by Carlos Gomez in the fifth that was followed by a two-run home run by Rickie Weeks.
"He left that changeup up to Weeks," Jaso said. "That's really the only mistake he made."
Milone has not lost in his past four starts earning three wins and a no-decision.
"Looking back at my last two games, it was nice to go seven," Milone said. "I just wanted to throw strikes and keep the ball down. I used my changeup a lot the first time around."
Weeks would be the only Milwaukee batter to enjoy any success against Milone, going 2-for-3 with a home run and a triple -- which came within inches of being his second home run of the night. With two out in the seventh, Weeks bounced an 0-2 changeup off the wall in left. The shot originally was ruled a home run but after checking the replay, umpires ruled it a triple and sent Weeks back to third base.
Despite the change in ruling, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was pleased to see a multihit game from Weeks, who came into the game batting .184.
Weeks' struggles prompted the Brewers to call up prospect Scooter Gennett, who is expected to platoon with Weeks.
"It was nice to see him swinging it well," Roenicke said. Hopefully that continues."
As the Brewers' offense scuffled against Milone, Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada struggled to keep the A's in check and found himself in trouble early, giving up a home run to Crisp on the second pitch of the game.
Brandon Moss made it 2-0 with a solo shot in the second and Estrada settled in after that, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and around a one-out double in the fourth before the wheels fell off in the fifth.
John Jaso and Yoenis Cespedes opened the fifth inning with back-to-back singles, and Jed Lowrie doubled off the wall in right-center.
Lowrie's hit ended Estrada's day, as the Milwaukee right-hander left the field after being examined by the team's trainer. The Brewers later announced he strained his left hamstring.
"He said he felt it a couple pitches before," Roenicke said. "They are calling it day-to-day and a hamstring strain, but to think that he's going to pitch again in five days, I don't know if he can do that."
Burke Badenhop came on in relief and allowed another run to score on a base hit by Donaldson, who made the inning's first out when he was caught trying to steal second.
Redick made it 5-0 with a single into right, closing the book on Estrada (4-4), who was charged with five runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.
The A's weren't done, though, pushing the advantage to 6-0 on Milone's single to center. Crisp walked, loading the bases, and Jaso collected his second hit of the inning, which scored two more before Badenhop finally ended the inning by striking out Cespedes.
Oakland tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh and Hideki Okajima and Jesse Chavez threw a scoreless inning to close out the A's fourth straight victory and 15th in the last 17 games.
NOTES: Milwaukee made a number of moves Monday, optioning Mike Fiers to Triple-A Nashville while recalling Gennett. The Brewers also traded minor league pitcher Tom Keeling to Atlanta for 3B Juan Francisco and released INF Alex Gonzalez. Gennett made his major league debut, grounding out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... This was the Athletics' first-ever visit to Milwaukee's Miller Park and first road series against the Brewers since 1997. ... Oakland INF Nate Freiman was named the American League's Rookie of the Month for May after hitting 351 (13-for-37) with three doubles, one home run and nine RBIs in 14 games.

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