Athletics 6, Brewers 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ First, the Oakland Athletics cooled off baseball’s hottest team and now, they get slugger Mark McGwire back.
McGwire, who had 39 homers and 90 RBIs last season, was activated from the disabled list Monday night following the A’s 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. The loss snapped the Brewers’ seven-game winning streak.
McGwire, out since tearing connective tissue in his right arch six weeks ago in spring training, was expected to play today against Milwaukee as the designated hitter.
``We’re going to be careful with him,″ Oakland manager Art Howe said. ``I don’t want people to expect him to start hitting bullets all over the place. He’s been out six weeks. But he’s ready to swing a bat and we know he can do some damage. It might take him a while to find his stroke but it probably won’t take too long.″
Against the Brewers and Ricky Bones, the A’s found their stroke right away, striking for four first-inning runs, two of them coming on Pedro Munoz’s homer. Geronimo Berroa also hit a two-run homer as the A’s beat the Brewers for just the fourth time in their last 15 meetings.
``Bones is a good pitcher and after that first inning, he started getting his rhythm and getting people out. If we hadn’t got to him in the first inning, he would have pitched a great game,″ Munoz said.
Carlos Reyes pitched five strong innings for the victory before just 6,021 people, the smallest crowd in the majors this year. The A’s even drew bigger crowds in Las Vegas, where the team played its first six games due to construction at the Oakland Coliseum.
``We noticed but what do you do?″ said John Briscoe, who got the last out for his first save of the season and second of his career. ``We just hope more people will come out and they will when we start putting some more wins together.″
Reyes (2-3) allowed two hits and a run before leaving after five innings with stiffness in his right shoulder. He struck out three and walked two in helping to check the Brewers, who averaged nearly 7 1/2 runs during their streak.
``They mixed it up good and threw in and out,″ said John Jaha, who had a solo homer in the fourth for the Brewers’ first run. ``Lately we’ve been facing hard throwers and had some success. We didn’t adjust to guys mixing it up. We’ve been coming back and playing well, so we can’t get down on ourselves for one game.″
The Brewers scored another run in the ninth on an infield hit by Pat Listach before Briscoe came in and got the final out with the bases-loaded.
``That was definitely a lift for us,″ Briscoe said. ``They’ve beaten up on us pretty good the last few years. It would be nice to change that.″
Bones (1-3) never recovered from a rough first inning, when the A’s sent 10 batters to the plate.
``I was off location,″ said Bones, who went five innings, allowing four runs on five hits. ``I felt good and strong but I wasn’t able to put the ball where I wanted to and fell behind the hitters. Put that first inning away and I pitched good. Just blame me for stopping the streak.″
Ernie Young singled to start the inning and Allen Battle reached on third baseman Jeff Cirillo’s error.
Jason Giambi, who has been filling in for McGwire at first, followed with a double to right, extending his hitting streak to 12 games and driving in the first two runs.
One out later, Munoz drove a 2-2 pitch into the still unfinished second-deck suites 468 feet away for his second homer of the season.
Berroa connected for his sixth of the season after Michael Potts began the seventh by walking Giambi.
Reyes said a shoulder muscle tightened up on him and he doesn’t expect to miss his next start.
``There’s nothing really to get worked up about,″ he said.
Notes: Moments before hitting his homer, Munoz fouled a pitch back that reached the renovated press box and the ball cracked one of the newly installed windows. ... The A’s have won eight games in April, their most since 1992 when they went 14-8 during the month. ... Milwaukee is only 8-6 when committing an error. ... None of the six batters walked by Bones scored. ... Despite the loss, the Brewers are 34-18 against the A’s since 1991 with victories in 11 of the past 15 meetings. ... With the loss, Milwaukee missed a chance for its first eight-game winning streak since 1989.