NEW YORK -- The Oakland Athletics' $1 man pitched like a million bucks for most of the night Wednesday as the A's wrapped up a two-game series against the New York Mets with an 8-5 victory behind Brad Mills.
A winner in the major leagues for the first time in almost two years, Mills had a shutout going for 6 1/3 innings, in part because he walked no one. Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers on June 17 when Milwaukee ran out of roster space, the left-hander saw the A's rise up on his behalf.
Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer in the first, Yoenis Cespedes added a three-run double in the second, and Josh Reddick played right field like Roberto Clemente, making a few circus catches and challenging Mets base runners to test his arm. They didn't.
"That's all the more reason why it is so important for me to throw strikes," Mills said. "We've got a good defense. I've got to get the hitters to put the ball in play and let they go get it."
Mills is with the A's now because there was a clause in his contract with Milwaukee that said he could be set free at no cost if the Brewers wouldn't bring him to the big leagues in June when another big league team would. The A's were that team, and the $1 deal has worked out for Oakland.
The 29-year-old has started twice, and the A's have won both. Wednesday's win was his first since July 8, 2012, his only win that year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I don't think about it like that," Mills said. "I've been pitching somewhere."
"Somewhere" is now Oakland, which had an opening in the rotation after Drew Pomeranz broke his hand.
On Wednesday, A's manager Bob Melvin also gave Mills a chance that a pitcher who was in the minor leagues (Triple-A Nashville) two weeks ago should not necessarily expect to get. With the A's up 8-0 and Mills perhaps tiring after back-to-back singles in the seventh, Melvin decided to stick with Mills rather than going to a rested Dan Otero.
The next pitch was hit by Lucas Duda for a three-run homer, and Mills was done. Melvin said later Duda's previous 10 homers were all off right-handed pitching, so he liked the odds.
Mills liked the opportunity, even if it didn't work out. The relationship between a pitcher and his manager is all about trust, and Melvin showed Mills plenty.
"I would have wished for different results," Mills said. "But yeah I appreciated the opportunity to go out there and try to get the double play. I just didn't execute that pitch."
Catcher John Jaso was raving about Mills' performance after the game, the three-run homer notwithstanding.
"He mixed up pitches great," Jaso said. "He was able to use off-speed pitches and use the off-speed really well. He could use the curve to hit the corners in combination with the fastball inside.
"He came in ready to compete. He was really amped up. He went deep into the game and really did well for us in a National League game like that. The homer was all pitch location. It was the right pitch selection, he just hung the cutter. He knows it. Duda knows it, too."
n Reddick made one catch leaning into the stands in foul territory and made a basket catch on a ball that the 20-mph winds caught. But his best defensive contributions might have been the fact that two Mets runners limited themselves to taking one base on a single rather than testing Reddick's arm.
-- Cespedes has a 10-game hitting streak in which he's 14 for 39 (.359) with three doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.
-- The A's eased Derek Norris (jaw) and Craig Gentry (left knee) back into duty Wednesday, Gentry with a pinch-hitting appearance and Norris by catching the ninth.
-- The win left the A's at 14-8 for June, sewing up a 13th straight winning month. That ties the club's all-time record for consecutive winning months. The Oakland organization did it first from September 1970-September 1972. The Philadelphia A's went 15 months from July 1928-September 1930.
-- A's Triple-A third baseman Tyler Ladendorf was handed a 50-game suspension for testing positive for banned substances for a second time. The Commissioner's office didn't name the drug. Ladendorf was hitting .305 for the River Cats.
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