There was a message posted for A's hitters on the clubhouse wall
about the importance of stringing together singles, doubles and
walks, of grinding out at-bats and making opposing pitchers work
deep into counts. Oh yeah, and that home runs could actually be
rally killers at times.
Maybe the A's didn't stop to read the message as they headed down
the tunnel toward the field.
The A's hit five home runs, including catcher Derek Norris' first
career grand slam in the eighth inning off left-hander Phil Coke,
and crushed the Tigers 10-0 in the opener of a four-game series.
Designated hitter Brandon Moss, first baseman Kyle Blanks, third
baseman Josh Donaldson and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes each hit a
solo home run off Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly, staking the A's to
an early 4-0 lead.
The A's (31-20) scored only 13 runs and hit just .172 over their
previous six games before busting loose Monday for 10 runs and 11
hits, five of those clearing the fence.
"I think that we need to hit home runs and we're going to hit home
runs because of the guys we have in this locker room," Donaldson
said. "I think we have done a great job all year of passing the
baton. We went through a tough stretch in Toronto where those guys
pitched really well. Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the
opponent and turn the page."
White their hitters broke loose, the A's continued to get great
pitching. A's left-hander Tommy Milone pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings
and combined with relievers Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle for the
With no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth,
Norris crushed a pitch by Coke over the left-center-field fence for
his fifth homer of the season.
"I started off the day and I was 0-for-4 and everyone was hitting
homers and I was like, 'I'd love to get in on this action,'" Norris
said. "It just happened to work out."
The Tigers (28-19) lost their third straight game and fell for the
sixth time in their past seven games.
"We really didn't do anything very well," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus
said. "Starting pitching is the issue. We're in a really long run
right now. It's still just seven games out of 162. I'm still fully
confident this pitching staff is extremely good. Of all the games
this week, this one was the most disappointing."
The A's and Tigers met for the first time since the American League
Division Series last year. Detroit beat Oakland in five games for
the second straight season in the ALDS. Milone said facing the
Tigers had him amped up more than usual.
"The first couple innings were pretty high energy," Milone said. "It
took me a while to get calmed down. Luckily in those innings I was
still able to perform and hit my spots and pitch how I usually
[to top of second column]
Milone (3-3) won his third straight game and improved to 3-0 for his
career against Detroit. He allowed four hits, struck out six and
Making his first career start against the A's, Smyly (2-3) allowed
six runs on eight hits, including the four home runs. Smyly had
allowed just four home runs in 39 1/3 innings this season before
facing the A's. They homered four times in the first three innings
-- twice in the second and twice in the third.
"Honestly I felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty
well," Smyly said. "I was attacking hitters and putting myself into
good counts. I don't know how you give up four solo home runs in one
game, but there it is. They hit my good pitches and hit my bad
Moss led off the second with his 12th home run of the season, giving
the A's a 1-0 lead. Facing a defensive shift, Moss tried to bunt for
a base hit, but he fouled off Smyly's first pitch. Moss sent Smyly's
next pitch over the center field wall. Center fielder Austin Jackson
nearly robbed Moss of a home run, leaping high and getting his glove
on the ball as it went over the fence. But the ball popped out of
the webbing, and Moss circled the bases.
With one out, Blanks made it 2-0, launching his first home run of
the season and first as an Athletic. Blanks, who was traded by San
Diego to the A's on May 15, ripped Smyly's 2-1 pitch, an 81-mph
changeup that he left up on the zone.
Donaldson, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, lined Smyly's belt-high
changeup over the left field fence with one out in the third for his
12th home run of the year. One batter later, Cespedes crushed a 3-2
slider to left for his ninth home run of the season.
NOTES: A's RHP Ryan Cook (right forearm strain) threw off flat
ground Monday and will throw a bullpen session Tuesday for the first
time since going on the disabled list, retroactive to May 8. ...
Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler was out of the lineup for the first time this
season after starting the first 46 games.
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