A’s Repeat Hard Fought 2-1 Victory Over Royals
By Sean Davis
The bacon hangovers are all but worn off, and it was back to baseball Saturday as the A’s took on the Royals in game 2 of this weekend series. Much like Friday night’s battle, the A’s struggled to make anything happen versus Ervin Santana and the Royals throught the early going. A well placed pop up by Billy Butler got the Royals on the board in the top of the 1st against Tommy Milone, and it was up to Milone to keep that damage to a minimum as the A’s struggled against their former division foe Santana.
Apr 26, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Tommy Milone (57) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Milone had to work extremely hard tonight to make it through his 6 innings to nail down the victory. The top of the 2nd inning was the most adventurous, and could have sent the game in an entirely different direction had Milone broken rather than just bent. Another well placed pop up put the lead off man aboard, a couple of uncharacteristic walks by Milone would load the bases with nobody out. A first pitch pop up by Elliot Johnson, and strikeouts of Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar would enable Milone to escape the inning unscathed. The two arduous innings though would drive up Milone’s pitch count at an early stage. Jesse Chavez was warming up in the bullpen during the 2nd when Milone was on the ropes. Had the Royals been able to come up with a big hit Milone’s night may have been much shorter.
Milone overcame the high early pitch count and worked his way through 6 solid innings while allowing just the 1 run in the 1st. Milone allowed 5 hits, 1 ER, with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts to snap his 5 start losing streak. He got just enough support tonight, and it came just in time to get him the W.
The A’s offense woke up from their slumber in the bottom of the 6th inning as Eric Sogard led off with a double. Coco Crisp walked as the lineup turned over, and a wild pitch moved Sogard to 3rd in the process. Jed Lowrie‘s sacrifice fly tied the game up at 1 as Sogard easily beat Lorenzo Cain’s throw from center. Brandon Moss would give the A’s the 2-1 lead with an RBI triple just to the left of straight away center field. That would be all the offense the A’s would get, and it ended up being all they would need.
Ryan Cook and Seann Doolittle would work nice clean innings in the 7th and the 8th, with 2 strikeouts from Cook. Grant Balfour worked a scoreless 9th for his 8th save of the season, he walked the lead off batter but retired the side in order quickly after that.
The A’s are now back to the .500 mark that very well could have started to slip away from them. At 22-22, the A’s can now start to rebuild the good feelings the team had in the early stages of the season. With Coco Crisp and Chris Young back in the fold, the team will start to function as a unit once again.
The A’s go for the sweep tomorrow as A.J. Griffin (4-3, 3.48 ERA) takes on Luis Mendoza (1-2, 6.00 ERA). A sweep here will send the A’s off to Arlington for the first time in much better shape and ready for their first two city Texas road trip of the season versus the Rangers and Astros.