Derek Norris doesn’t hit many home runs, but when he does, they win ball games.
Norris’ pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh inning over the left field propelled a three-run rally as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Los Angeles 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at the O.co Coliseum.
Four of Norris’ seven home runs this season have given the A’s the lead, as the A’s continue to get timely hitting from unlikely sources.
Tommy Milone was brilliant for the A’s, going seven innings and allowing one run on four hits and four walks, striking out six.
His only blemish came in second inning, when Josh Hamilton hit a towering home run to right to give the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Milone got himself in and out of jams early on. In each of the third and fourth innings, he stranded two runners on base. He finished the afternoon with 114 pitches, a hard-earned ninth victory of the season.
The 1-0 lead was one the Angels held for a while, as the A’s failed to score against Angels youngster Garret Richards, who pitched five shutout innings.
The A’s wasted an opportunity in the third, when Eric Sogard singled and Coco Crisp reached on a beautiful bunt with no one out. However, Jed Lowrie hit into a double play and Josh Donaldson grounded out to end the threat.
However, they broke through in the seventh against the Angels bullpen. Josh Reddick walked to lead off the inning, and two batters later, Norris, pinch-hitting for Stephen Vogt, drilled the first pitch he saw from Scott Downs beyond the left field wall.
A couple of two-out hits by Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie — a single and a double — gave the A’s an insurance run.
The A’s bullpen of Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour combined to shut down the Angels over the final two frames and seal the victory for Oakland.