Bullpen struggles as Brewers fall to A's
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Marcus Semien was more surprised to see his two-out hit in the seventh inning get past left fielder Ryan Braun for a pivotal two-run triple than he was by the Athletics' late scoring burst.
He might have been the only one, particularly on a night Oakland's bats were silent for most of the first six innings.
Semien's triple off Michael Blazek capped a three-hit, three RBI game for the A's shortstop and helped rally Oakland to a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 on Tuesday.
Jed Lowrie also had three hits while Stephen Vogt and Danny Valencia added two hits apiece for the A's, who won for just the second time in five interleague games this season.
"All of a sudden toward the end of the game when it was on the line, our at-bats were a lot more intense and a lot more focused it seemed like," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "Our bats were way better the last three innings of the game than they were in the first five."
Vogt tripled leading off the seventh against reliever Will Smith (1-2) and Valencia reached on an error by shortstop Jonathan Villar. After Vogt was thrown out at the plate on a grounder and Billy Butler struck out looking, Alonso singled off Michael Blazek to drive in Valencia.
Semien, who had three hits and three RBIs, then tripled to left-center on a 1-2 pitch to put the A's up 5-2.
"That was a big gap out there and I didn't expect it to get by (Braun)," said Semien, who was in an 0-for-15 slump heading into the game. "But it did so I just kept running."
Sean Doolittle (2-2) retired three batters for the win. Ryan Madson pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
Braun hit an RBI double in the eighth to pull Milwaukee within 5-3, but the Brewers were shut down after that and fell to 1-7 on their nine-game road trip.
"We're not playing well enough to win," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "We make just enough mistakes to not allow us to win. You can look at all phases of the game, too. We're not quite doing enough."
The A's had lost two straight and five of six before beating Milwaukee in the Brewers' first trip to the Coliseum since June 12, 2002.
Milwaukee led 2-1 in the sixth after Braun scored on Chris Carter's single following a two-base throwing error by starter Sonny Gray.
Semien's two-out single off reliever Blaine Boyer in the bottom of the inning tied it 2-2 before his big blow in the seventh gave the A's a cushion.
"We can score one run here and there but the big innings are what's going to win ballgames for us," Semien said. "A couple two-out RBIs are big for us. You want to come up big in situations with less than two outs but two outs can be devastating for the other team."
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson bounced back from his worst outing of the season and limited the A's to one run over five innings while getting the no-decision.
Gray allowed two runs over six innings and matched his season high of seven strikeouts but remains winless since April 22 -- a stretch of nine starts. Melvin, though, continues to be encouraged by what he's seeing from his ace. "I thought he was really good," Melvin said. "He's starting to get himself in a nice rhythm."
Brewers: Infielder Hernan Perez left the team to fly back to Milwaukee for the birth of his daughter and was placed on the paternity list. Yadiel Rivera was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs to replace Perez on the roster.
Athletics: Outfielder Andrew Lambo, who was on the Oakland's opening day roster and played in one game after being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh, is recovering after undergoing surgery last week for testicular cancer. ... Utility player Arismendy Alcantara was called up from Triple-A Nashville before the game. Left-handed reliever Daniel Coulombe was optioned down.
Brewers: Right-hander Junior Guerra (3-1) faces the A's for the first time in his career on Wednesday. Milwaukee is 7-2 in games that Guerra has started.
Athletics: Daniel Mengden (0-2) makes his third career start. The right-hander was promoted to the majors earlier this month after only 43 appearances over three seasons in the minor leagues.