By Charlie O. Mallonee
Nate Freiman flew all night from Sacramento, drank some coffee and hit the game winning three-run home run in the sixth-inning of the final game in Miami. The A’s beat the Marlins 4-3 to take the final game and sweep the series in South Florida. It was the seventh time the A’s have swept a series this season.
Tommy Milone recorded a quality start going seven-innings giving up three-runs (2 earned) on four-hits. Milone struck out three, walked two and gave up one home run en route to his sixth win of the season. Ryan Cook worked 1.1-innings and posted his first save of the year.
The game started off with what appeared to be a bad omen for the Athletics. In the bottom of the first-inning, the Marlins lead-off man Christian Yelich hit a triple to center field and came home to score on a throwing error by Callaspo trying to erase the runner at third. Yelich scampered home to score the first run of the game for Miami. It was Yelich’s first at bat since coming off the Disabled List on Sunday. Tommy Milone was not shaken and stopped the Marlins from scoring any additional runs until the sixth-inning.
Oakland needed Milone to go deep into the game as the bullpen was depleted following Saturday’s 14-inning 7-6 win over the Marlins. The A’s had only four relievers available at the start of the game without taking a chance of using one of their overworked relief pitchers. Milone did not disappoint and manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his starter’s effort.
The big inning for the A’s was the top of the sixth-inning. Tommy Milone led off the inning by striking out. Craig Gentry lined out to right field. Callaspo then singled to left. Yoenis Cespedes singled to right and Callaspo moved up to third. Josh Donaldson singled to left allowing Callaspo to score. Nate Freiman hit the first pitch from Andrew Heaney over the left center field wall for a three-run home run. The A’s would not trail again in the game.
Freiman was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to take Josh Reddick’s place on the roster. Reddick reinjured his right knee on throw to the infield on Saturday night. A MRI was taken of Reddick’s knee but the results have not been made public.
Freiman took a “red eye” flight to Miami and arrived in South Florida at 6:30 AM. After several cups of strong coffee, he was ready to play the game. After the game, Freiman credited Sacramento hitting coach Greg Sparks with his new found power. Freiman says that Sparks lowered his hands and that has helped his hitting and power. Freiman was hitting .277 with 14 home runs for the River Cats.
The A’s scored four-runs on eight-hits. Freiman’s homer was the A’s only extra-base hit. Freiman had three-RBI and Donaldson posted one-RBI. Both Freiman’s and Donaldson’s RBI came with two-outs in the inning.
As a team, Oakland was two for three with Runners In Scoring Position. The A’s left just two men on base.
Sunday’s game marked the official halfway mark of the season for the A’s. Oakland’s record is 51-30 after 81 games in 2014. The 51-wins match Milwaukee’s 51-wins in the National League. The Brewers have played two more games.
After the game, the A’s headed for Detroit where they will open up a three-game series on Monday night. LHP Scott Kazmir will start for Oakland and RHP Anibal Sanchez will pitch for the Tigers.