It didn’t take the A’s long to wipe away memories from the night before.
They jumped on the New York Mets early and rode out an 8-5 victory Wednesday night at Citi Field to split a two-game interleague series. It was an effective counter-punch after they got routed 10-1 in Tuesday’s opener.
Brad Mills (1-0) earned his first victory as an Athletic, going 6 1/3 innings and keeping the Mets off the board until a three-run homer to his last hitter. Brandon Moss hit his 18th homer, a two-run shot, and Yoenis Cespedes had a three-run double that put the A’s up 6-0 by the second.
That early cushion looked all the more important when the Mets closed to within 8-5 in the eighth inning. Sean Doolittle closed it out, and the A’s stopped a two-game losing streak.
Starting pitching report
Lucas Duda put a slight damper on Mills’ night when he hit a pinch three-run homer in the seventh that chased the left-hander from the game. That doesn’t take away from what Mills accomplished leading up to that however. He scattered nine hits and kept the Mets off the scoreboard until the seventh. He took a sizable early lead and made it stand. And he gave manager Bob Melvin reason to believe that Mills is a suitable answer as the replacement for Drew Pomeranz, who is on the disabled list with a fractured right hand.
Mills walked four in his A’s debut Friday, driving up his pitch count and lasting just four innings. He was much sharper Wednesday, and he didn’t issue a single walk.
Dan Otero came on in relief of Mills in the seventh and closed off that rally. Luke Gregerson gave up a two-run homer to recent A’s killer Chris Young that brough the Mets to within three runs. But Sean Doolittle came on in the ninth and struck out the side for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.
At the plate
It was a complete reversal of fortune for A’s hitters. A day after being bottled up by Bartolo Colon, they broke out early with some big hits against Zack Wheeler (3-8), and it was the top half of the lineup doing the damage.
Brandon Moss got it started when he crushed a two-run homer well into the upper deck in right field in the top of the first. It was an encouraging sign for Moss, who came in with just one home run and two RBI over his previous 14 games.
Coco Crisp had a big game from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI. He singled up the middle in the second to score Josh Reddick for a 3-0 A’s lead. The bases were loaded later in the innin when Yoenis Cespedes yanked a bases-clearing double down the left-field line that made it 6-0.
In the field
The momentum carried over into the field for the A’s, and Reddick led the defensive effort. He turned in one of his finer defensive plays of the season in the bottom of the third. He charged to the railing in pursuit of Eric Young Jr.’s foul pop-up, and with a fan planted right in his way, Reddick closed in and reached around the fan to pluck the ball out of the air.
In the next inning, Reddick appeared to get a slight misread on Eric Campbell’s fly ball to right. He ran back, turned around to locate the ball and wound up making a basket catch right at his belt.
There were other moments. Alberto Callaspo, not necessarily known for slick defense, made a tough backhanded play on Daniel Murphy’s sharp bouncer in the sixth. Later in that inning, Moss snared Curtis Granderson’s liner and threw to second to double off David Wright.
After Duda’s three-run shot in the seventh, Callaspo started a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and keep the score 8-3.
The A’s get a day off and then begin a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins. Friday – Jesse Chavez (6-4, 2.71) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.59), 4:10 p.m. Saturday – Sonny Gray (7-3, 2.91) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 3.52), 1:10 p.m. Sunday – Tommy Milone (5-3, 3.89) vs. Andrew Heaney (0-2, 4.91), 10:10 a.m.