MILWAUKEE (AP) If only the Oakland Athletics played in the NL Central, they might not be on pace to have one of the worst seasons in modern history.
Seth Brown and Brent Rooker hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning to help the Athletics complete their first series sweep of the season with an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
Kevin Smith also homered as the A's erased an early 2-0 deficit. Since falling 5-4 at Pittsburgh on Monday for their 15th straight road loss, Oakland has gone 5-0 on the road against the NL Central’s top two teams - the Pirates and Brewers.
“I think the clubhouse is just becoming closer,” Brown said. “Guys are really starting to get to know each other and just starting to kind of jell as a team a bit.”
This marks the first time the A's have won five straight games within the same season since September 2021. This surge gives the Athletics (17-50) a higher winning percentage than the 1962 New York Mets, who went 40-120 for the worst season-ending record of any team since the start of the 20th century.
“It’s Major League Baseball, and from what I know about it, everybody is kind of an inch from the top and an inch from the bottom,” said Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy, who took over managerial duties for the day because Craig Counsell was attending his son's high school graduation. “They’ve been getting their teeth kicked in all year in an embarrassing way when you look at overall record, but these are major league players. I know some of the characters they’ve got over there, and they have some great character."
Christian Yelich homered for the Brewers, who have lost four straight.
Milwaukee's loss and Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory over the New York Mets caused the Brewers to fall a game behind the Pirates in the NL Central.
Oakland trailed 2-0 before before scoring four runs in the fourth off Freddy Peralta (5-6). Brown capped an 11-pitch at-bat with a three-run homer over the right-field wall to put the A's ahead for good.
“That's an at-bat that changes games,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “He wore him down, wore Peralta down. You could see him getting closer and closer. It was the right approach. The balls he was fouling off were more middle away, and he got one more on the plate and was able to deposit it over the right-field fence.”
Rooker followed that up by launching a 1-1 pitch into the left-field seats.
Milwaukee threatened to tie or pull back ahead on a few occasions.
The Brewers left the tying run on third in the sixth. They trailed 5-3 but had two on with two outs in the eighth when Rowdy Tellez hit a drive that Esteury Ruiz caught at the center-field warning track.
Oakland scored three runs in the ninth to extend its lead to 8-3, but the A's bullpen struggled to close the deal. Trevor May got pulled in favor of Sam Long after walking Victor Caratini with the bases loaded and two outs.
Pinch-hitter Abraham Toro's bloop single made it 8-6 and put the tying run on first before Blake Perkins bounced to third to complete the sweep. Long got his second save in as many opportunities.
“They’re big leaguers,” Brewers shortstop Willy Adames said of the A’s. “They’re here for a reason. They executed this series and we didn’t.”
Oakland's JP Sears (1-3) struck out five and allowed six hits and two runs in five innings. Peralta struck out five and gave up four runs, three hits and two walks in five innings.
Athletics: RHP Drew Rucinski, who has been on the injured list with a stomach virus, suffered a low-grade sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during a bullpen session. He will be rehabbing for two to three weeks before getting on the mound.
Brewers: LHP Eric Lauer (shoulder) allowed seven runs - five earned - along with eight hits and two walks over two innings in a rehabilitation appearance with Triple-A Nashville. ... LHP Wade Miley (lat) threw five shutout innings in a rehabilitation start for Double-A Biloxi.
Athletics: Return home to begin a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. RHP James Kaprielian (1-6, 7.21 ERA) starts for the Athletics in Monday's opener.
Brewers: Off Monday before starting a two-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday. Scheduled starters are Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes (5-4, 3.36) and Twins RHP Pablo López (3-3, 4.25).
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