OAKLAND -- Just as Tommy Milone's home dominance was starting to become old news, the A's southpaw wrote a new headline from the Coliseum on Wednesday night, capturing the first complete game of his young career in a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.
The one-run, nine-inning effort, which helped the 25-year-old improve to 5-1 with a 0.99 ERA at home, kept the A's in the win column for the seventh time in their past eight games.
"It means a lot," said Milone, who was awarded the lineup card as a memento. "Just to be out there in the ninth inning, it's such a good feeling. Every strike I threw, the crowd was cheering. Once I got the second out, I felt like I was the closer."
Consider Milone the owner of an unofficial save, then, too.
The hurler surrendered just three hits on the night, allowing the Dodgers to score only once in the second inning, when Juan Uribe lined a soft RBI double to right field that was nearly caught by Josh Reddick, who snatched the ball up in his glove only to let it loose while flipping over.
Milone, though, kept Los Angeles off the board the rest of the way, at one point retiring 14 straight, even while tallying more flyouts (12) than groundouts (11).
"Pretty similar to every other one we've seen here," manager Bob Melvin said. "Good cutter, good slider, enough curveballs, changeups, both sides of the plate. Really effective. Even the only run they get, [it] wasn't a hard hit ball, and [Reddick] almost comes up with it. Terrific performance."
"They know the ball is not going anywhere and we're not going to hit a lot of balls in the seats," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "They know exactly how to play here. They attacked us."
The A's, now just three games below the .500 mark for the first time since May 26, are 11-6 over their last 17 games after dropping a season-high nine straight, as the offense keeps finding ways to support a consistently strong pitching staff.
They had seemingly managed just fine without Yoenis Cespedes in their lineup over the past week, snagging wins in six of their past seven games.
Cespedes, though, only makes this streaky team better, and in his first full game back since suffering a strained left hamstring June 7, he showed why, collecting an RBI base hit and a double while holding down designated hitter duties from the cleanup spot.
"I've never been in that situation, not in the eight years I played in Cuba, never was the DH," Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto. "I played every single day on the field, because that's the way I liked it. I liked to be playing defense. Between at-bats, I was coming back here to the gym with the trainer to do work.
"I feel so good coming back to play, and I'm really, really happy, because we won against them."
"Every at-bat was good," Melvin said. "One thing you worry about is pitch selection, whether or not he's prepared for the breaking ball after the layoff, but boy, he was on it. It was pretty impressive to see a guy that was out in the fashion he had, coming in the DH role, kind of having to think about his injuries a little bit, to put together four at-bats like that was really nice to see."
It was Cespedes' efforts, along with the ongoing help from Seth Smith and yet another home run from Brandon Moss, that aided the superb showing from Milone, who snapped a four-game winless streak with the victory.
Cespedes led off the fourth against Dodgers righty Nathan Eovaldi with a double and quickly scored on Smith's ensuing two-bagger. Cespedes was back for more in the fifth, plating a run on a bloop single to center field, after Reddick's double-play grounder with the bases loaded scored Eric Sogard.
Moss' homer, his seventh in 13 games with the A's, came in the eighth off Dodgers lefty Scott Elbert. Ten of the first baseman's 12 hits this year are for extra bases, numbers that, not coincidentally, have guided Oakland's recent surge.
"Obviously we know we can play this well," Milone said. "It's not the first time we've played this well. It's just a good feeling. Three weeks ago, we had that nine-game slide, and we've come back from it and basically said, 'Who cares?' and going back to what we know we can be."