May 26, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Craig Gentry (3) and first baseman Kyle Banks (88) greet catcher Derek Norris (36) at home plate after Norris hit a grand slam against the Detroit Tigers in the eighth inning of their baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports. Athletics won 10-0

A’s offense comes back to life with five homers vs. Tigers


After a bit of a slide, losing four in a row, the Oakland A’s offense woke up against Drew Smyly and the Detroit Tigers. They belted five home runs to defeat the Tigers by a score of 10-0.

The first four home runs of the game were all solo shots. Brandon Moss was the first to go deep in the second inning, hitting his 12th home run of the year. That same inning the newly acquired Kyle Blanks went yard for another solo shot. In the third Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes went back to back to score two more runs for the A’s. In the bottom of the fourth the A’s scored two more runs on RBI by Coco Crisp and Donaldson.

The A’s fifth and final deep drive of the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning off of reliever Phil Coke with the bases loaded. They’d loaded the bases in a relatively unconventional way.  Blanks walked, Craig Gentry reached base on catcher interference and Coco Crisp reached base on a throwing error by Tiger’s third baseman Nick Castellanos. Catcher Derek Norris came up next and hit four run blast putting the A’s ahead 10-0.

Drew Smyly who is 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA got roughed up by the A’s who scored six of their ten runs off him. He pitched five innings allowing four home runs and a season high eight hits. MLB.com’s Alex Espinoza reported Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the game regarding Smyly’s outing,

“It wasn’t a great outing for him. At least he got deep enough in the game where the bullpen wasn’t completely torn apart.”

 

Tommy Milone continued his recent streak of solid starts pitching six and two thirds innings. He struck out six, walked two and gave up just four hits. Milone has been stellar since former Oakland starter Dan Straily was sent to Triple-A Sacramento. At the time that could have been Milone who was also struggling. Since then he is 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA. Milone is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA on the season. Milone has been using a shorter stride on the mound, which Espinoza writes,” has allowed him to command his fastball better and stay low in the zone.” Dan Otero and Sean Doolittle combined with Milone to complete the shutout. It was the A’s seventh shutout of the year.

Norris who has caught seven of Milone’s nine starts the season, including the last four talked of a bond he and Milone have developed,

“Sometimes when you put together back-to-back starts or four starts in a row when he’s throwing the ball well,” Norris said, “you get that trust and you get that bond going. He works a little quicker, he works more determined, he works more accurately. That takes a load off because he no longer has to think. He just has to see it and throw it to where he wants to throw it.”

It was a great start to the series for Oakland who, despite taking 3-4 against Detroit in the 2013 regular season, has lost to the Tigers the past two years in the American League Division Series. Tuesday night’s game brings the much anticipated match of two possible Cy Young candidates, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer and the young ace of the A’s Sonny Gray. Gray currently has the lowest ERA in the American League and Scherzer’s had a strong year as well. It will be quite a pitcher’s duel at Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum Tuesday night.

Tags: Derek Norris Detroit Tigers Oakland A's Oakland Athletics Tommy Milone