Kyle Blanks homered in his home debut at the Coliseum, Derek Norris capped Oakland’s five-homer day with a grand slam and the A’s snapped a season-long four-game losing streak with a 10-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
“It was like, is this really happening?” Smyly said. “I felt good and I felt like I was making good pitches. Then I’d just leave one up, home run. Leave the next one up, home run. Bury the next one, home run.”
Detroit has a 7.51 ERA during that skid as their much-vaunted pitching staff has hit a collective lull.
“I’m not really puzzled,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It’s pretty clear cut. We’re just not pitching well.”
Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson each hit their 12th home run and Yoenis Cespedes also went deep for the A’s, who broke out of their recent slump by getting homers from five players for the first time since 2009.
That backed another strong start from Tommy Milone (3-3), who allowed four hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings to improve to 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his past four starts after making an adjustment to shorten his stride.
“I think it’s really helped with my command,” Milone said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve seen from before and now is command with the fastball and keeping everything low in the zone.”
Oakland returned home mired in its worst skid of the season, having scored seven runs in the four losses, to Tampa Bay and Toronto.
That led to a pregame message on the clubhouse white board imploring the team to take the “slow torture” approach of grinding out at-bats rather than the “instant kill” of a home run that ends a rally rather than starts one.
“Homers can be rally killers, but when you end up hitting four or five of them on the day you can probably make a different statement,” Norris said.
Oakland responded with homers from five players for the first time since Jack Cust, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Ellis, Daric Barton and Cliff Pennington did it Sept. 11, 2009, at Minnesota.
That helped them win the first meeting of the season against the team that eliminated them in Game 5 of the division series the past two postseasons.