Big production: A's & Milone hammer Brewers
Coco Crisp not only led off the game with a home run, but knocked out three additional hits, walked, and scored two runs. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
The last time the A's played in Milwaukee, in 1997, the Brewers were still members of the American League. So Monday night's series opener at Miller Park marked a return to interleague play for the A's, and a return to the bashing ways the exhibited last week in the Bay Bridge Series.
The A's combined a season high in hits and lights-out pitching to beat the Brewers, 10-2, as Oakland has now won 15 of 17 to improve to a season-best 11 games over .500 at 35-24 and pull within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West.
And it all started on the second pitch of the game, when Coco Crisp took Brewers starter Marco Estrada deep for Crisp's 10th career leadoff home run, his eighth as a member of the A's.
Starting pitching report
Tommy Milone improved to 6-5 after giving up two runs and five hits in seven innings. The left-hander struck out four and did not walk a batter. Adding to Milone's impressive outing -- he also had two base hits and drove in a run in the interleague affair. It was the 11th time in the past 13 games the A's starter had one walk or fewer. "It's got to be a little bit of both," Milone said on A's Postgame Live, when asked what he was more proud of, his pitching or his hitting. "I wanted to pitch better, but it definitely feels good to get a couple of hits as well."
Left-hander Hideki Okajima replaced Milone in the eighth and threw a scoreless inning, though not before taking a shot off his pitching forearm from Ryan Braun. Right-hander Jesse Chavez authored a perfect ninth.
At the plate
The A's pounded out a season-high 19 hits, with Crisp leading the way with his 11th career four-hit game -- he was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle -- and John Jaso added three hits and two RBI. In fact, every hitter in the starting lineup had a hit and every starter but Eric Sogard had an RBI.
In the field
Carlos Gomez hit a jam shot into no-man's land in shallow right-center to lead off the fifth inning, when charging Josh Reddick came charging in. His attempted feet-feet slide came up empty, though, as his right knee took out a huge divot of grass. Luckily for him, it was his knee that hit the ground first, and not his cleats that were stuck in the grass. One batter later, Rickie Weeks homered to left field for the Brewers. Weeks, though, would be denied a two-homer game in the seventh, when his shot to left appeared to bounce off the top of the wall before ricocheting off the wall behind it and back onto the field. Initially ruled a home run, the play was reviewed by umpires, at the behest of A's manager Bob Melvin, and apparently the replays were inconclusive, so Weeks was sent back to third base with a triple. Karmic payback for the way the A's were jobbed in Cleveland earlier this year?
The last time the A's played in Milwaukee, on Aug. 17, 1997, when Ariel Prieto started for Oakland, the Brewers announced a crowd of 22,283 at old County Stadium. This time, the Brewers announced a crowd of 21,023 at Miller Park.
A.J. Griffin (5-4, 4.04 ERA) will be facing the Brewers for the first time in his career and is coming off a loss to the Giants on Thursday. Batters are hitting just .163 against him the first time through the order, the second-lowest mark in the American League among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched, but .326 the second time through. The Brewers counter with right-hander Kyle Lohse (1-6, 4.37), who is 1-3 with a 5.54 ERA in seven career starts against the A's. He last faced Oakland in 2007.