Baseball / Sports

The Los Angeles Angels' Kole Calhoun (56) is tagged out at home plate by Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris in the second inning at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, May 31, 2014. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Cespedes' big night leads A's over Angels, 11-3

OAKLAND, Calif.--Oakland A's Manager Bob Melvin talked about left fielder Yoenis Cespedes' recent offensive struggles before Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Melvin said he wasn't too concerned about Cespedes being mired in a 7-for-46 slump the previous 11 games because of how hard Cespedes works on a daily basis.

As if on cue, Cespedes turned in a jaw-dropping, all-around performance that he punctuated with a two-out, two-run triple in the seventh inning to break a tie and give the A's their first lead in an 11-3 victory. For good measure, Cespedes mashed a three-run home run in the eighth as he matched his career-high with five RBIs.

That the A's were even within striking distance in the seventh owed in large part to Cespedes' play in the field.

Twice in the same inning, Cespedes nailed Angels runners at the plate as they attempted to score from second base on a single.

Few likely were more thankful than A's starter Tommy Milone, who survived two rocky innings to start the game and a three-run home run in the fourth before being replaced after six frames.

The Angels sandwiched singles around Grant Green reaching on an error by A's third baseman Josh Donaldson in the first for bases loaded with no outs.

Milone escaped without allowing any runs and provided yet another example of the value of pitching with confidence.

Milone's high-wire act got even more perilous in the second, when he allowed three straight singles to begin the inning.

However, Cespedes fielded Colin Cowgill's hit and fired a one-hop strike to catcher Derek Norris in time to cut down Chris Iannetta for the first out.

Later in the inning, Cespedes pulled off the feat a second time in what looked like a replay. This time, he nailed Kole Calhoun for the final out as the crowd erupted.

Milone retired the Angels in order in the third, yet the first two innings portended a rough outing.

Sure enough, the Angels broke through in the fourth, when Cowgill followed a one-out walk and single with a towering home run to left.

Not even Cespedes could bail out Milone on Cowgill's blast. In one swing, Cowgill accounted for as many runs as Milone allowed in his previous four starts.

The A's finally scored in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Norris, who knocked in Donaldson after he walked and Cespedes doubled for the A's first hit off Tyler Skaggs.

Milone had his way with the heart of the Angels' order. He just had little success against the bottom third of the Angels lineup.

Those three players reached base all six times their first two at-bats, with Cowgill's second hit off Milone the big blow.

Milone persevered through six innings and kept the game close enough for the A's to rally against Skaggs.

Kyle Blanks cut the lead to 3-2 with a home run off Skaggs on the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh.

The A's tied the game later in the seventh when Donaldson grounded out to second with the bases loaded and one out.

Cespedes made it 5-3 with his triple, and Alberto Callaspo added a two-run double.

-- Melvin held Brandon Moss (calf) out of the lineup as a result of the injury Moss suffered Friday night. Moss is day-to-day.

Melvin said it's likely that Moss won't play Sunday, either, and probably won't return to action until the A's start a series against the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

--Craig Gentry started in place of Coco Crisp in center field. Melvin said Crisp is working through some nagging injuries. Gentry also filled in for Crisp in the leadoff spot. Crisp delivered a pinch-hit single for Josh Reddick in the seventh and later scored.

--Reliever Ryan Cook pitched one inning for Single-A Stockton on Saturday night. He made it through the inning on nine pitches. Cook is returning from a right (throwing) arm injury. Melvin said he is hopeful that Cook needs only one or two rehab outings before he rejoins the A's bullpen.

--On a night the A's honored the 1974 World Series champion team, Melvin said he encourages his players to acquaint themselves with what past A's teams accomplished, especially the teams that captured World Series in 1972, '73 and '74.

"We certainly should embrace it," Melvin said. "There's only been one other team that's won three World Series in a row. It was kind of the start of the whole Oakland A's schtick with some of the individuality and the personalities, and it's kind of carried over through the years here."

--The A's caught a break when the Angels scratched standout center fielder Mike Trout. Trout reportedly is battling upper back tightness. Grant Green moved from No. 7 to Trout's No. 2 spot in the batting order, while C.J. Cron replaced Trout as the designated hitter.

(c)2014 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

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