Following a disappointing series against the Seattle Mariners that saw the A’s lose the three originally scheduled contests, the A’s salvaged the second game of the Wednesday double-header (a makeup game from the rainless rainout on April 4th), Oakland opened a weekend set against the National League’s Washington Nationals on Friday evening with an 8-0 win.
Tommy Milone, who was acquired from the Nationals following the 2011 season in the trade that sent Gio Gonzalez to Washington, got the start for the A’s against his former team. Milone was nothing short of brilliant against his former team, turning in easily the best start of his young season.
Scott Hairston was the only Washington player to collect hits against Milone, doubling with two outs in the second inning and beating out an infield single to second in the seventh inning. Through his eight innings of work, those would be the only hits Milone would allow, along with three walks and seven strikeouts. He did not allow a run en route to his first victory of the 2014 season.
Offensively, the A’s lineup provided Milone with plenty of support, scoring early and often.
Josh Donaldson got a two-out infield single in the first inning off Doug Fister and was able to move all the way to third on an errant throw from Fister to Kevin Frandsen at first base. Brandon Moss wasted no time making Fister pay for the throwing error, singling through the gap between first and second to bring in Donaldson for the unearned run, and give the A’s a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, John Jaso gave the A’s their first earned run of the game, extending the lead to 2-0 with a solo homer to lead off the inning over the 388-foot mark in right-center.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the fourth inning with a single and moved to third on Josh Reddick’s single to open the inning. A wild pitch from Fister allowed Cespedes to come in to score and Reddick to move into scoring position, advancing to second, with Derek Norris at the plate at no one out. Reddick advanced to third on Norris’ ground out to third and came around to score on Eric Sogard’s one out single to give the A’s a 4-0 lead.
Donaldson found his way on base again in the fifth inning on an error by third baseman Anthony Rendon, winding up at second base. Again, Moss made the Nationals pay for an error ahead of his at-bat, crushing the first pitch he saw from Fister over the center field fence to bring Donaldson in ahead of him and blow the game open at 6-0. The inning was not over though. Following a brief visit to the mound by the Washington pitching coach, Cespedes connected on the first pitch he saw, driving an opposite field homer to right and making it 7-0 on the back-to-back homers, ending Fister’s 2014 debut.
The final line for Fister was 4.1 innings pitched, seven runs (five earned) on nine hits, no walks and two strikeouts. He allowed three home runs.
Donaldson plagued the Nationals’ defense again in the bottom of the seventh inning, leading off with a single to right field that was dropped by Jayson Werth. The official scorer correctly ruled it a base hit due to a long run, though not much argument would have been given had the drop resulted in the fourth error of the game for Washington. Craig Gentry was hit by a pitch to reach base. Detwiler settled down a bit to strikeout both Moss and Cespedes, but could not escape the inning without allowing Donaldson to score. Norris singled to left field on a ground ball between third base and shortstop and Donaldson did not slow down at third, scoring all the way from second on an offline throw by Hairston to home to push the A’s lead to 8-0 in support of Tommy Milone.
Fernando Rodriguez was called upon to pitch the ninth inning. After getting the first two batters out, he allowed a single to Wilson Ramos. He got Ian Desmond to ground into a force out to Jed Lowrie at shortstop for the final out of the game.
The A’s were 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position and collected multi-hit games from Donaldson, Moss, Cespedes, Reddick and Norris.
The A’s will host their first fireworks game of the year tomorrow night at 6:05PM. Sonny Gray will get the start for Oakland against Tanner Roark for the Nationals. Former Oakland pitcher Gio Gonzalez will start for the Nationals on Sunday in a day game against Scott Kazmir.
Prior to the game, the A’s announced a flurry of roster moves. For starters, no pun intended, the A’s optioned Dan Straily to AAA Sacramento. Drew Pomeranz will take Straily’s spot in the rotation. Reliever Ryan Cook was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm and relievers Joe Savery and Fernando Rodriguez were recalled to fill the spots vacated by Straily and Cook.
Coco Crisp was schedule to have an MRI done on his neck today. He was held out of the lineup tonight and is unlikely to play tomorrow as well.