That move came Friday. Straily packed his bags. Milone stayed in
Oakland and pitched arguably the best game of his career -- against
his former team, no less.
Milone threw eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits as the
A's crushed the Washington Nationals 8-0 at the O.co Coliseum.
Brandon Moss, Yoenis Cespedes and John Jaso each homered for the
A's, giving Milone more than enough support.
"It might be a vote of confidence for him, too, that he's here," A's
manager Bob Melvin said. "Really it was just last year at times when
he finally got sent down that confidence-wise that can hit you a
little bit for a guy. For a guy that's won 25 games the last two
years, that's pretty good. A lot of teams would take him. A little
bit of a vote of confidence that it wasn't him today."
Facing the Nationals for the first time since they traded him to
Oakland in December 2011, Milone (1-3) earned his first win of the
season. He struck out seven and walked three. He pitched like the
Milone of 2012, who went 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA.
"It's just nice to get out there and throw well," Milone said. "I
did that in 2012. Not so much in 2013. But it's nice to get out
there and throw well and put up zeroes."
Last season a struggling Milone was sent down to Sacramento on Aug.
3 before working his way back to Oakland. So did he take Friday's
roster decision as a vote of confidence?
"Maybe in a sense," Milone said. "I didn't really think about it
that way; but, you know, in the back of my mind maybe that's
something that did happen."
The A's ruined former Tigers right-hander Doug Fister's debut for
the Nationals. Fister, who had been on the disabled list with a
strained right lat until being activated Friday night, allowed five
earned runs and seven total in just 4 1/3 innings. He gave up nine
hits, including three home runs, struck out two and walked none.
"Physically I felt like I was in the right place," Fister said. "I
felt strong. It was lack of execution. I was excited for tonight no
more than normal. Everything felt good. I have been working on
certain pitches to keep them down in the zone. I didn't do that
The Nationals committed three errors -- one each by Fister, third
baseman Anthony Rendon and left fielder Scott Hairston.
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Jaso, the A's designated hitter, hit a solo shot in the second. Then
in the fifth, Moss hit a two-run blast and Cespedes a solo homer as
the A's had back-to-back home runs for the first time this season.
"Fister threw a lot of strikes and we were really aggressive with
him," Moss said. "It was his first game back. He was probably
feeling a little bit of adrenaline. I don't know how he felt, but
his offspeed wasn't as good as it's been in the past."
Milone was sharp from the outset, keeping his pitches low, throwing
to both sides of the plate and changing speeds. He gave up a two-out
double to Hairston in the second and a two-out infield single to
Hairston in the seventh. Each time, Milone retired the next hitter.
Milone threw 108 pitches, and 71 were strikes.
"I actually played behind Tommy and I've always been impressed with
him," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said. "He's a competitor; he
moves quick. He's like a little Mark Buehrle. I wouldn't be
surprised if he has a very similar career. He's a competitor, he
pounds the zone and he works quick. ... We just missed a couple
balls, but that's what he does: He misses barrels."
Right-hander Fernando Rodriguez, making his A's debut, pitched a
scoreless ninth in his first major league appearance since
undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 27, 2013.
NOTES: RHP Dan Straily, the A's No. 4 starter, was optioned to
Triple-A Sacramento, and LHP Drew Pomeranz moved from the bullpen
into the rotation. ... A's RHP Ryan Cook was placed on the 15-day
disabled list with a right forearm strain. ... LHP hander Fernando
Rodriquez and RHP Joe Savery were called up from Sacramento to
bolster the A's bullpen. ... Nationals OF Nate McLouth (sore right
hand) was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game but
was available off the bench and is expected to start Saturday in the
second game of the three-game series.
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