|Oakland Athletics second baseman Eric Sogard throws a runner out at first base during an exhibition baseball game against Triple-A Affiliate the Sacramento River Cats in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 31, 2012 (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)|
Milone helps Oakland beat Triple-A team
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Tommy Milone and the Oakland Athletics showed no signs of jet lag in their first game in the U.S. after opening the regular season in Japan.
Milone pitched six perfect innings Saturday night with six strikeouts to lead the A's to a 9-0 victory over the Sacramento River Cats, Oakland's Triple-A affiliate.
The A's returned to Oakland on Thursday evening after a week in Japan, where they split two games with the Seattle Mariners.
Several Oakland players said before Saturday's game that they still were getting their body clocks adjusted.
Milone wasn't one of them. The left-hander said he slept on the plane ride home from Tokyo to adjust to the time change. He was fresh and ready for his starting assignment, then went out and locked down the No. 3 spot in Oakland's rotation.
"I knew what I was doing out there, and it would have been cool to keep going," said Milone, who left after throwing 80 pitches.
Andrew Carignan pitched a scoreless seventh inning, walking two batters, to complete a no-hitter for the A's. The game was called after seven innings due to rain that began during the bottom of the seventh.
The A's got a three-run homer from Coco Crisp in the second inning and a solo homer by Josh Donaldson in the fifth.
Milone dominated the Sacramento batters. The River Cats hit only four balls beyond the infield.
"It's what we've seen all spring," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "When he misses, it's usually by design. Great command, I mean, you see his mechanics. Real still head and he really has a great feel for pitching and reading hitters. He can read swings real well."
Melvin joked that he wanted to let Milone pitch to one more batter because he hadn't yet reached his pitch limit after six innings. He decided against it.
"I told (catcher Kurt
Milone looked far from done before leaving his longest and strongest performance of the spring as he sailed through the Sacramento batting order three times.
"Obviously, you try to go out there and throw zeroes every inning," Milone said. "I came out right away and showed the command I had, and I kind of realized after three or four innings what I had going. But really, we all just came out ready to play tonight."
Oakland's offense also got in the groove quickly, roughing up Sacramento starter Jarrod Parker, who walked the first two batters he faced and hit Suzuki with a pitch two batters later to load the bases with two outs.
Parker appeared to get out of the first-inning jam when Josh Reddick lofted a fly ball to center field. Grant Green got under the ball but then dropped it, allowing all three base runners to score.
Crisp's shot over the right field fence highlighted a three-run Oakland second inning and the A's added two more runs in the third.
NOTES: Manny Ramirez, who did not travel with the A's to Japan, strained a hamstring last week and did not join the team in Sacramento. Melvin said Ramirez would not play in the three-game Bay Bridge exhibition series against the San Francisco Giants. ... Left-hander Dallas Braden, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier this week, suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery when he strained his throwing shoulder last week. "He's not throwing right now," Melvin said. "We're on hold with that. I don't have a timetable with him."