Moss: 'He hung a changeup first pitch and I hit it good'
Dan Straily lowered his ERA to 4.28 with 6.1 strong innings in Pittsburgh. (AP)
Brandon Moss' two-run home run off Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole in the fourth inning proved to be the difference Tuesday night as the A's beat the Pirates, 2-1, for the second night in a row.
Moss played parts of three seasons with the Pirates, from 2008 through 2010.
"It's a fair ballpark," Moss said on A's Postgame Live. "It's big to left-center. It's not small by any means. I think it's a great ballpark…one of the most beautiful ballparks in the game.
"I never have played well here, but it's a nice place to play."
After a rainless 102-minute rain delay, the A's still have yet to lose to the Pirates, winning all 11 interleague games against them since 2002. As such, the first-place A's have won five straight series to improve to 54-37, a season-high 17 games over .500.
Closer Grant Balfour recorded his 24th save in 24 opportunities after allowing a lead-off single in the ninth inning.
Starting pitching report
Dan Straily improved to 6-2 after allowing just two hits -- including the second-inning solo home run by Pedro Alvarez -- in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in his 89 pitches, 59 strikes. In his last two starts, since being recalled from triple-A Sacramento, Straily is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA with 13 strikeouts and six walks and a 0.60 WHIP while allowing just three hits over 13 1/3 innings.
After the game, Straily was optioned to Sacramento to clear roster space for pitching prospect Sonny Gray.
Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook did their jobs with a combined 1 2/3 innings of relief work. It was the 13th hold of the season for Doolittle, the 14th for Cook. Then Balfour got his 24th save, extending his franchise record for consecutive saves to 42.
At the plate
A night after getting only three hits, the A's mustered five, with no player having more than one. The big blast, of course, was Moss' team-leading 16th homer, a two-out, first-pitch blast into the right-field bleachers on an 87-mph changeup from Gerrit Cole in the fourth inning. John Jaso, who had doubled one batter earlier, scored on the blast.
In the field
It was not the toughest of plays in the game, but it might have been the most telling. With a light mist beginning to fall with two out in the ninth and a Pirates runner at first base, third baseman Josh Donaldson rushed into the grass to field with his glove Russell Martin's chopper and transfer the ball to his throwing hand in one motion. A second later, Donaldson threw out Martin to end the game.
The Pirates announced a crowd of 24,560 at PNC Park.
Tweet o' da game
bone. thrown. #stillasnub. -- @UnkleNoah, on Yoenis Cespedes getting the nod for the Home Run Derby, with only one A's player selected for the Midsummer Classic itself.
Left-hander Tommy Milone (8-7, 4.11 ERA) goes for the sweep as he faces lefty Francisco Liriano (8-3, 2.20), who is 3-4 with a 4.59 ERA in 14 career appearances against the A's, 12 starts. Milone has never faced the Pirates.