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,
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 31/2 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 Texas for first place 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."
Josh Reddick's bloop RBI single got the A's on the board in the fourth, and Donaldson's homer to dead center off C.J. Wilson (11-9) in the fifth pulled them to within 5-2.
But Chris Iannetta, the Angels' No. 9 hitter, stole the momentum back when he hit a two-run shot off Pedro Figueroa in the sixth that made it 7-2.
Milone remains one victory shy of the A's season rookie record of 12, shared by Chris Codiroli (1983) and Joe Blanton (2005). He has walked one or fewer batters in each of his past 13 starts, one short of Gil Heredia's Oakland record set in 1999.
"I felt like I was able to throw strikes, but not where I wanted to," he said. "I left the ball over the plate and up in the zone."
Sogard was on the verge of being activated.
A.L. Wild-card race
W L Pct. GB
A's 76 58 .567 --
Baltimore 75 59 .560 1
Tampa Bay 74 61 .548 2½
Detroit 72 62 .537 4
L.A. Angels 72 63 .533 4½
Note: Top two teams earn wild-card berths.
L.A. Angels (Zack Greinke 3-2) at A's (Jarrod Parker 9-7), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA
A.L. WEST RACE
W L Pct. GB
Texas 80 54 .597 --
A's 76 58 .567 4
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