OAKLAND The A's have flexed some serious offensive muscle lately, but they could not escape the early hole they dug themselves Monday.
Tommy Milone got rocked in the shortest start of his career, and the A's nine-game winning streak ended with an 8-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.
Pitching at home usually equates to good things for Milone. But the rookie lasted just three innings and was tagged for five runs and a career-high-tying 10 hits as the A's lost the opener of a three-game series against the team chasing them for second place in the American League West.
"We're not used to seeing that kind of an outing from Tom, especially here at home," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They made him work, and when he made a mistake, they made him pay."
The winning streak was the A's longest since a 10-game string from June 8-18, 2006. Entering Monday, they had outscored opponents 60-16 over the previous six games. That run differential of 44 was the best by a major league team over a six-game span since the Yankees had 51 in July 2007.
But the Angels are gaining steam, having won 10 out of 13 as they fight to keep their postseason hopes alive. Los Angeles stayed within 3 1/2 games of Baltimore for the A.L.'s second wild-card spot.
The A's remain in the top wild-card position, but their lead over Baltimore shrank to one game. They fell to four games behind first-place Texas in the A.L. West.
Milone (11-10) came in with the A.L.'s fifth-best home ERA among starters (2.34), but he allowed hits to eight of the first 12 batters he faced. That included Torii Hunter's homer deep to left-center in the third that made it 3-0.
Vernon Wells ended Milone's day with a homer to left in the fourth that gave the visitors a 5-0 lead.
"From the first inning on, I just didn't feel comfortable out there," Milone said. "I was struggling to keep the ball low."
Milone remains one victory shy of the A's rookie season record of 12, shared by Chris Codiroli (1983) and Joe Blanton (2005). Milone has walked one or fewer batters in each of his past 13 starts, one short of Gil Heredia's Oakland record set in 1999.
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