Instant Replay: A's knock Darvish around, beat Rangers 10-6

Instant Replay: A's knock Darvish around, beat Rangers 10-6
June 17, 2014, 10:15 pm
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Derek Norris (left) is congratulated by Nick Punto after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning on Tuesday. (USATSI)


OAKLAND -- Ron Washington might want to think about skipping Yu Darvish the next time Texas and Oakland square off.

The A's pushed runs across in five of the first six innings and separated late to earn a series-evening 10-6 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Darvish allowed four earned runs in five innings, and it lowered his ERA in Oakland from 7.71 to 7.59.

It was Darvish's eighth loss in 10 career starts against the A's. No other team has beat him more than three times.

Tommy Milone, who has quietly been a major part of the A's success over the past three seasons, earned his 30th victory in Green and Gold.

Derek Norris turned in a monster offensive night despite starting on the bench, managing five RBI after entering in the sixth inning.

The win pushed the A's record to 43-28, tied with the Giants for the best in all of baseball. Oakland is enjoying its best start through 71 games since 1992 when Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Rickey Henderson and company led the team to a 43-28 record and an AL West division title.

Starting pitcher report
After beginning the season on a three-game losing streak, Tommy Milone is now riding a career high-tying five-game winning streak.

Milone and his $510,000 salary scattered five hits and three runs to outduel Darvish and his $10 million annual income.

The A's lefty has had problems settling into starts this season, and Tuesday was no different. After a leadoff single and stolen base, Adrian Beltre delivered an RBI single to put the Rangers up 1-0 before the A's came to the plate. It was Beltre's eighth hit in 18 career at-bats against Milone (.444) and the ninth run in 13 first innings that the A's starter has allowed this year (6.23 ERA).

Milone did settle in, though, and was dominant his second time through the lineup until a fifth inning mistake to nine-hitter Rougned Odor. Milone's first offering was an 88-mph fastball on the inside half of the plate, and Odor smashed it into the elevated right-field bleachers to cut the A's lead to 4-2.

The Rangers scored again in the sixth inning, chasing Milone from the game after Alex Rios' sacrifice fly to center field scored Elvis Andrus, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Milone's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, BB, 3 K, 87 P, W.

Bullpen report
Dan Otero took over for Milone in the sixth inning and was tagged with two runs on Odor's triple.

Left-handed specialist Fernando Abad was called upon in the seventh inning to face Shin-Soo Choo and struck him out looking. And right-handed specialist Luke Gregerson retired Adrian Beltre to end the frame.

It wasn't a save situation, but Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth inning and extended his career-high streak of scoreless innings to 23.1.

At the plate
Yu Darvish is a two-time All-Star in two MLB seasons, but he pitches like a rookie at the Coliseum. In four starts in Oakland, Darvish has allowed 18 earned runs in 21.1 innings.

A day after allowing 14 Rangers runs -- their most since a 22-9 loss in 2011 -- the A's scored 10 of their own on Tuesday, boosting their MLB-leading total to 369 this year. None were more important than those generated by Derek Norris' pinch hit, three-run blast in the sixth inning, which proved to be the difference.

It was the A's fourth three-run home run in the last three games. They lead the majors with 43 homers with runners on base and are third in the bigs with 82 big flies on the season.

Darvish carried a 12-inning scoreless streak into Tuesday's game, but the A's -- who enjoy more success against him than any other MLB team -- ended it quickly with a two-run second.

Prior to first pitch, Stephen Vogt attributed the A's success against Darvish to the team's ability to "grind out at-bats." Vogt was 3-for-3 with three singles and two RBI against him before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh.

Alberto Callaspo reached base in each of his four plate appearances with two singles and two walks.

Cespedes looked lost against Darvish's cutter and fanned in each of this first two at-bats, giving him 11 strikeouts in his first 16 at-bats against the Rangers ace.

Darvish woke up Tuesday with 599 career strikeouts in 73 games and made quick work passing the milestone. He fanned Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss in the first inning for his 600th and 601st career strikeouts, stranding John Jaso on first in the process. Darvish fanned eight but walked off the Coliseum mound once again flummoxed.

In the field
Coming off a season high-tying three errors in Game 1 against the Rangers, the A's played clean defense behind Tommy Milone. But Josh Donaldson, who came on to pinch hit and remained at third base, threw low to first in the seventh and committed his sixth error in his last eight games.

In large part thanks to Donaldson, the A's have committed 12 defensive miscues in their last eight games.

Yoenis Cespedes didn't record any assists, but wasn't for lack of trying. Cespedes showed off his recently acclaimed cannon arm three times in the sixth inning, trying to cut down runners at second, third and first base.

Coco Crisp was shaken up after colliding at high speed with the right-center field wall while chasing Odor's triple, but remained in the game to make a full extension diving catch to end the eighth inning.

The A's announced a paid attendance of 21,288.

Up next
The Rangers and A's return for the rubber match of their three-game series on Wednesday afternoon with right-handers Sonny Gray (6-3, 2.93) and Nick Tepesch (2-2, 3.94) on the mound. Coverage starts with A's Pregame Live at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

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