OAKLAND — Fresh from a much-needed off day after playing a grueling stretch with 30 games in 31 days, the Oakland Athletics jumped on Bronson Arroyo early and kept pushing the Cincinnati pitcher at every chance.
Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer, newly promoted Stephen Vogt hit a sacrifice fly for his first major league RBI, and the A’s beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-3, on Tuesday night.
“It’s always nice to get those big leads,” Donaldson said. “It’s kind of been one of those things here lately where we get the opportunities and haven’t cashed in right away. (Tuesday), we didn’t have a ton of opportunities late in the game but the opportunities we had early in the game we were able to take advantage of and got a lot of good two-out hits.”
Josh Reddick had an RBI double, Yoenis Cespedes added a run-scoring single, and Brandon Moss also hit a sacrifice fly as the A’s returned from the road to a cleaned-up Coliseum for an eight-game homestand.
There was fresh carpeting and other upgrades nine days after a sewage problem and flooding in the clubhouses and umpire room that sent the A’s and Mariners scrambling for the locker room of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
Pat Neshek (2-1) pitched one inning for the win, his 14th scoreless appearance in his last 15.
Joey Votto hit his 14th homer, and Cincinnati’s Derrick Robinson had a career-high four hits.
Oakland knocked out Arroyo (6-6) after a season-low four innings — his shortest start since three innings last July 16 against Arizona at home. The A’s won for only the fourth time in 11 games.
Arroyo surrendered seven runs for the first time since allowing eight against the Indians on July 1, 2011, in Cincinnati. He gave up seven hits.
Votto homered leading off the fourth but the Reds missed too many other chances to back Arroyo. Cincinnati left 11 men on base.
The Reds hit three straight deep flyballs to center in the first — each of which might have cleared the fences in Great American Ball Park.
A’s starter Tommy Milone had his winless stretch reach four starts since a win at Milwaukee on June 3.
The lefty walked the final three batters he faced, including Jay Bruce’s bases-loaded free pass. Manager Bob Melvin then turned to Neshek, who struck out Chris Heisey to end the fifth.
While Melvin called it “difficult” removing Milone when he was so close to the five innings he needed for a win, the pitcher knew he was laboring.
“You could see it,” Milone said. “I walked three guys in a row and walked a guy in. I don’t blame him for taking me out right there. It makes it easier when you’ve got the bullpen we do.”
The Reds left the bases loaded in the fifth and again an inning later when Votto flied out to end the sixth, then wasted chances again in the eighth.
Arroyo lost for only the second time in five June starts, having his two-start winning streak end.
He had beaten the A’s in his last three decisions over five starts since losing his first career appearance against Oakland 15-2 on May 27, 2004. Arroyo also had gone at least six innings with two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts — but missed doing so in five in a row for the first time since Aug. 24 to Sept. 14, 2009.
“I wasn’t surprised they swung early. I was surprised at some of the pitches they swung early on,” Arroyo said. “They flipped the tables on me. I usually pitch off the beaten path and they came at me with an approach that was a bit awkward.”
Reds manager Dusty Baker, the former Giants manager who departed after his club fell just short in the 2002 World Series to the wild-card Angels, got back to his Sacramento-area home Monday and brought freshly picked fruit to the clubhouse. He planned to sleep at his other home in San Bruno on Tuesday night.
Vogt, who is from Visalia and was acquired in an April 5 trade from Tampa Bay, hit a sacrifice fly in the second for his first career RBI as the A’s took a 2-0 lead against Arroyo.
The A’s called up the catcher from Triple-A Sacramento and he started and batted eighth. His parents, grandparents, wife and toddler daughter were set to be in the stands for his Oakland debut.