Oakland, CA – It was a short night for the starting pitchers who found themselves watching their bullpen take over early. It’s been awhile since Bronson Arroyo allowed a season-high seven hits over four innings. But tonight the Oakland A’s took advantage for the 7-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“The flipped the tables on me tonight,” said Arroyo. “I usually pitch on the beaten path, and they came at me with an approach that was a bit awkward.”
Over his last previous four starts, Bronson came into tonight’s game with a 1.57 ERA. But that meant nothing to a soaring A’s offense that dominated early. The last time Arroyo gave up so many hits was July 7, 2011 against the Cleveland Indians when he surrendered eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Oakland got off to a quick start in the second when Bronson gave up three hits that included Josh Reddick’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Stephen Vogt for the 2-0 lead. Brandon Moss got things going with a double after Yoenis Cespedes grounded out to leadoff the inning.
“That’s vintage American League, to have a whole bunch of left-handed hitters or switch-hitters they throw at you,” manager Dusty Baker said.
That’s exactly what happened in the next frame. The A’s were non-stop in their at-bats and all Cincinnati could do was watch in amazement. Oakland added four more runs to end Arroyo’s night on the mound. He walked Coco Crisp to leadoff the inning then followed with two back-to-back singles before Cespedes lined a RBI single to right field.
The right-handed pitcher left pitches right over the middle of the plate, mostly fastballs each time. Moss’ sacrifice fly scored in a run and Josh Donaldson connected with Bronson’s first pitch for a two-run homer for the 6-0 lead. At that point there was no looking back for the A’s.
“I wasn’t surprised they swung early, I was surprised at some of the pitches they swung early on,” said Arroyo. “Donaldson hit a first-pitch breaking ball out of the park after seeing a changeup his first at-bat and rolled one over to the shortstop for a hit.”
Joey Votto leadoff the next frame with a solo blast to left field. But Todd Frazier’s double off the wall to follow Votto’s home run ended with a no man’s land attempt when Yoenis threw to second as Frazier was caught in between bases for the putout.
Oakland added one more run before Bronson departed, he walked Crisp again to leadoff the fourth. But this time Coco stole second base before Seth Smith scored him in. The A’s southpaw also had some troubles of his own and saw his shortest outing this season.
Tommy Milone allowed six hits, a season-high four walks, and three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Milone got himself into a jam loading the bases in the fifth after issuing two free passes back-to-back before walking in Jay Bruce for the Reds final run to end his night on the mound.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Tommy. “Something was a little bit off. I wasn’t able to throw it where I wanted to. It was just an uncomfortable feeling.”
The A’s defense did a good job keeping the Reds off the score board for the remainder of the game. Cincinnati left eleven runners stranded on the night. They have dropped four of their last five games and were without their start player Brandon Phillips who is out on maternity leave.
“It’s always nice to get those big leads,” Donaldson said. “It’s been one of those things here lately where we get the opportunities and haven’t cashed in right away. Tonight the ones we had early in the game we were able to take advantage of.”