MILWAUKEE – After winning two of three games in Philadelphia last weekend, the Milwaukee Brewers returned to their losing ways at home Monday night.
Coco Crisp and the Oakland Athletics tagged Brewers pitchers for six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 10-2 victory.
"We've got to pitch a lot better," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The Brewers have won just seven of their last 30 games. Once again, Milwaukee failed to get a quality start from its beleaguered staff.
Marco Estrada (4-3) lasted only four innings, giving up five runs and nine hits. He struck out three and walked one but departed with a left hamstring strain. The Brewers said Estrada is day to day.
"To think that he's going to pitch again in five days, I don't know if he can do that," Roenicke said.
Burke Badenhop, who relieved Estrada, allowed three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one in one inning of work.
Pitching was only part of the problem on this night. A's starter Tommy Milone baffled Milwaukee hitters throughout most of the game.
Milone (6-5) yielded five hits, struck out four and didn't issue a walk in seven strong innings. He retired his first eight batters before Estrada blooped a two-out single in the third.
"He's pitched pretty well for us. He's a consistent guy who does basically the same thing most times out," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Roenicke said Milone showed excellent control on the mound.
"He had real good command on the fastball and a great changeup," Roenicke said. "He mixed in his curveball when he needed to. We actually hit a lot of balls hard today with not much luck. We squared up some balls. Certainly not enough to overcome the runs they got."
Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez said the Brewers won't win many games playing from behind as they have during much of this extended slump.
"In the big leagues, you're not going to be successful if you do that," he said. "If you try to come back in every game, the pitching is too good to try to play catch up."
The frustration is mounting for the Brewers, but Ramirez sees no lack of effort from his teammates.
"Guys keep working hard, but right now it's just not happening," he said. "We've got another game tomorrow. We have to show up and play hard."
Milone was a force at the plate as well as on the mound for the surging A's.
He took advantage of a rare chance to bat in an interleague road game, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. The two-hit game by Milone was the first for an Oakland pitcher since June 2009.
"It's fun. It's something different that we get to do a few times a year," he said.
Crisp had a leadoff homer among his four hits for the A's, who have won four consecutive games and 15 of 17 to move a season-high 11 over .500 at 35-24.
The long ball sparked the A's to a quick 2-0 lead.
Crisp, who reached base five times in six plate appearances, got them started with his 10th career leadoff homer. Brandon Moss belted a solo shot with one out in the second to end an 0-for-11 slump.
Oakland broke it open in the fifth when it sent 11 batters to the plate. A double by Jed Lowrie drove in a run. Josh Donaldson knocked in another with a single off Badenhop. Josh Reddick followed with an RBI single.
Milone helped his own cause with a base hit that scored a run for a 6-0 margin. John Jaso added a single, his second of the inning, to drive in two more and push the lead to eight runs.
Milwaukee put an end to the shutout bid in the fifth when Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer.
The A's tacked on two more runs in the seventh to close out the scoring.
Weeks appeared to hit a solo homer off the top of the left-field wall with two outs in the seventh. Umpires initially signaled home run but after a review awarded Weeks a triple. He ended up stranded at third.
Weeks entered the game hitting just .184 with three home runs.
"It was nice to see him swinging it well. Hopefully that continues," Roenicke said.
Hideki Okajima and Jesse Chavez combined to pitch two innings of scoreless relief for Oakland.
NOTES: The Brewers made a flurry of roster moves before the game. They acquired 3B Juan Francisco from Atlanta for minor league pitcher Thomas Keeling. INF Scooter Gennett was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. INF Alex Gonzalez was released and pitcher Mike Fiers was optioned to Nashville. Gennett made his major league debut as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. ... The game marked the first meeting between the Brewers and A's since a three-game series at Oakland in June 2002. It was the first meeting in Milwaukee since August 1997 when the Brewers were in the American League and played at County Stadium prior to their move to Miller Park. ... The Brewers had won 23 of their last 27 home games against the A's. ... Estrada threw 86 pitches.