Athletics 11, Astros 2

Tommy Milone was Oakland’s most consistent starter as a rookie

in 2012. He’s doing the same thing this year, and the results are

looking even better.

It sure helps that the Athletics have been giving him plenty of

run support along the way.

Milone won his third straight start, Jed Lowrie drove in four

runs and Oakland beat the Houston Astros 11-2 on Monday night.

”You pretty much know what you’re going to get out of Tommy

every time he goes out there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”He

works quick, he knows what he wants to do and has conviction in

what he’s doing. Since the day he’s gotten here his first spring

training he’s been a model of consistency.”

Milone (3-0) had a season-high six strikeouts and didn’t walk a

batter for the eighth time in his career. The left-hander, who won

an Oakland rookie record 13 games in 2012, pitched out of jams in

the fourth and sixth before leaving following Jose Altuve’s one-out

RBI single in the seventh.

The A’s, who swept the Astros in Houston earlier this season,

needed it after Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker were roughed up by

Detroit last weekend.

Then again, Milone has been one of Oakland’s steadiest starters

for some time. He’s won five straight decisions dating to last

season and hasn’t lost since Sept. 3, 2012.

”I felt like no matter what pitch was put down, I was able to

throw it for a strike,” Milone said. ”Especially after the first

inning, I was able to pound the zone and get them out of there

early and keep the team in the game. Just got out of those innings

pretty quickly.”

Milone got plenty of support from a lineup that struck out 38

times in the three-game series against the Tigers.

Nate Freiman added a three-run homer and Brandon Moss had three

RBIs for the A’s. Oakland also benefited from eight walks – four in

the first inning by Houston starter Erik Bedard.

Lowrie had two hits after struggling against Detroit. Coco Crisp

doubled, walked twice and scored in his return to Oakland’s lineup.

Derek Norris scored three runs while Chris Young doubled and scored

twice.

Carlos Pena had two hits for the Astros, who have lost three

straight following a three-game winning streak.

”Six runs in the first inning is always a tough deficit to

overcome, especially with a guy like Tommy Milone on the mound,”

Houston manager Bo Porter said. ”You knew you had to hit your way

back into the game with him on the mound. It put us behind the

8-ball.”

The A’s scored six runs on just two hits in the first inning to

chase Bedard, whose perfect ERA jumped to 7.04.

Bedard (0-1) had been sharp in his first two outings this season

but walked Oakland’s first three batters and then uncorked a

one-out wild pitch that scored Crisp. After Josh Donaldson walked

to load the bases again, Moss hit a two-run single to make it 3-0

and Freiman followed with his first home run in the majors, a

towering three-run shot into the left-field seats.

Freiman, a Boston native, said his milestone moment was

bittersweet following the tragic bombings earlier in the day at the

Boston Marathon.

”A lot of my family is back there, and it was a nightmare,”

Freiman said. ”It’s an amazing feeling today but we’re not going

to forget about what happened in Boston. Prayers are with everyone

there.”

After Bedard was pulled, reliever Paul Clemens pitched 5 1-3

scoreless innings despite dislocating the pinkie on his pitching

hand. It was the longest relief outing by a Houston pitcher since

Dave Borkowski went six innings against the Cubs on Aug. 15,

2006.

Crisp also doubled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to

10 games.

Milone retired 10 of his first 11 batters before the Astros

scored in the fourth on Pena’s RBI single.

Houston cut the lead to 6-2 on Altuve’s hit in the seventh but

Oakland scored three runs in the bottom of the inning. Lowrie had a

two-run single and scored on Moss’ double.

A trio of A’s relievers combined to blank the Astros over the

final 2 1-3 innings.

NOTES: The A’s rested slumping outfielder Josh Reddick, who is

off to a 4-for-37 start. … Injured Oakland OF Yoenis Cespedes

(hand) did some running before the game but has not yet resumed

throwing. … Melvin said INF Adam Rosales could begin a rehab

assignment as early as this weekend. … The Astros acquired minor

league LHP Eric Berger from the Cleveland Indians for C Chris

Wallace. … RHP Brad Peacock, who lost to Oakland on April 5,

starts for Houston on Tuesday. He’ll oppose RHP A.J. Griffin, who

won his first two starts and is 9-1 in 17 career starts.