OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The way Tommy Milone was dealing in the late innings, there was little doubt he would get a chance to finish what he started.
Milone pitched a three-hitter for his first career complete game, Yoenis Cespedes had two hits and an RBI in his return to the Oakland lineup and the Athletics beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Wednesday night for their seventh win in eight games.
“It felt like I was the closer,” Milone said. “It’s such a good feeling. Hopefully you make good pitches throughout the game. Luckily I did and I was able to be out there in the ninth.”
Cespedes scored Oakland’s first run after a double and added an RBI single in the fifth to back another strong start at home by Milone (7-5) as the A’s took their second straight from the first-place Dodgers.
Milone walked one, struck out two and retired 22 of the final 24 hitters he faced, with Jerry Hairston Jr. hitting an infield single in the seventh and Dee Gordon reaching on an error by second baseman Jemile Weeks in the eighth. Milone threw 112 pitches in Oakland’s first complete game of the season.
He snapped a four-start winless streak and improved to 5-1 at the Coliseum with a major league-leading 0.99 ERA at home.
“It’s definitely a lot easier to pitch here just because you can leave a ball over the plate and they hit a good fly ball like they did at times tonight and there’s a bunch of room so our guys can track it down,” Milone said.
Nathan Eovaldi (0-3) was once again a tough-luck loser for the Dodgers as he failed to get support from his hitters and also made a defensive blunder that keyed a two-run fifth inning for the A’s.
After Eric Sogard singled and Coco Crisp walked, Weeks laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt that Eovaldi fielded. He looked at third before throwing to first with that slight hesitation allowing Weeks to beat out the play for a hit that left Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly shaking his head in disgust in the dugout.
Josh Reddick, mired in an 0-for-19 slump, followed by hitting into a double play that scored Sogard and gave Oakland a 2-1 lead. Cespedes hit an RBI single to make it 3-1.
“We need to take the out there,” Mattingly said. “That’s one that he knows he’s got to barehand it. With that guy running he checks third and then it’s too late. As soon as he checks third we’re like, `Oh God.’ That was one. We gave them an extra base there and they end up with two runs in that inning.”
Cespedes returned to the lineup after getting just one at-bat since June 7 because of a strained left hamstring. He had no problems adjusting to a new role as designated hitter, hitting the ball hard all four times, including a fly out to the wall in the eighth inning.
“Every at-bat was good,” manager Bob Melvin said. “One thing you worry about is pitch selection and whether or not he’s prepared for the breaking ball after the layoff. Boy he was on it. It was pretty impressive to see.”
Eovaldi allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. The Dodgers are winless in his five starts even though he has a 2.35 ERA and hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any game.
The Dodgers have been held to one run and five hits in losing the first two games of this series.
“It’s baseball man, you can’t hit all the time,” Hairston said. “It’s one of those things where we had a really good stretch. It’s obviously a combination of really good pitching and it’s just the game, that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Brandon Moss added his seventh homer for Oakland in the eighth to make it 4-1.
Both teams scored their first run on doubles that hit off the glove of an opposing outfielder. Reddick nearly made a diving catch in right field to rob Juan Uribe in the second inning but the ball popped out of his glove as he hit the ground and Juan Rivera scored on the RBI double.
Dodgers center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. was unable to make a running catch in left-center in the fourth against Seth Smith with the ball hitting off his outstretched glove to allow Cespedes to score the tying run.
NOTES: Melvin said RHP Tyson Ross will be called up from Triple-A Sacramento to start Saturday in place of injured RHP Bartolo Colon (strained right oblique muscle). … The A’s played a video tribute to injured Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis, who spent parts of nine seasons in Oakland before being traded to Colorado last year. … Travis Blackley (1-2), coming off his first win since 2004, takes the mound for Oakland in the series finale against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (5-3). … The A’s raised more than $24,000 for juvenile diabetes research from their annual Root Beer Float Day.