Fill-in Moss stars for A's in breezy win over Tribe

Fill-in Moss stars for A's in breezy win over Tribe

Fill-in Moss stars for A's in breezy win over Tribe
CLEVELAND -- As the A's surge through their summer schedule, it doesn't seem to matter who manager Bob Melvin pencils into his lineup. Someone always seems to step up and produce.

Brandon Moss played the part in Tuesday's 7-0 win against the listless Indians at Progressive Field. Filling in for the injured Coco Crisp, Moss delivered an RBI single in the second inning and a towering two-run homer in the fourth to propel Oakland to its 10th victory in its last 12 contests.

Crisp sat out Tuesday's tilt with a bruised right foot, suffered when he fouled a pitch off his cleat in Monday's triumph over the Tribe.

"We lose a guy like Coco for the night, and we can put Brandon Moss in there and he ends up hitting a homer and getting another hit," Melvin said. "We have some weapons, not only in our lineup, but off the bench and to match up."

Moss has split his time this year between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento. As a member of the River Cats, he shared first base duties with Chris Carter. Now that Carter has assumed most of the playing time at first base for the A's, Moss has been relegated to more of a reserve role on the big league squad. Still, he has showcased his power when given the opportunity.

He plated designated hitter Seth Smith in the fourth inning, when his 423-foot home run caromed off a wall that rests behind a row of trees beyond the center-field fence.

"I'm happy with my role," said Moss, who tallied his 14th homer of the season. "We're winning and I've enjoyed it a lot. I told them that whenever it's my turn, I'll be ready to go. Don't worry about that. I'll be ready."

His long ball pushed Oakland's advantage to 4-0, plenty of cushion for rookie southpaw Tommy Milone, who tossed six scoreless frames on the heels of Brett Anderson's seven a day earlier. Oakland pitching has held Cleveland scoreless in each of the last three meetings between the American League foes.

"Another shutout," Melvin said. "You can always live with that."

Milone, who notched his team-high 11th victory, dabbled into trouble, but routinely dodged harm. He allowed seven hits, as the Tribe put at least one runner on base in each of the first five innings. In the fourth, a leadoff single by Shelley Duncan and ensuing double by Brent Lillibridge placed a pair of runners in scoring position, but Milone struck out Casey Kotchman and Jason Donald and induced a groundout from Jason Kipnis to neutralize the threat.

"Offensively, we just couldn't do much," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "We couldn't execute at all. ... When we had second and third with no outs, we struck out back-to-back and couldn't put the ball in play. That really hurt us there."

The A's chased Cleveland right-hander Zach McAllister from the game in the fifth, two batters after Carter clubbed his 12th homer to right-center field. McAllister tied a career high with eight punchouts; Oakland whiffed 16 times in all.

When the A's did put the bat on the ball, however, they wreaked havoc on Tribe pitching. Moss' second-inning single -- Oakland's third straight hit to open the frame -- scored Smith. Three batters later, second baseman Adam Rosales plated Carter with a base knock to left.

Moss' potential has been evident in his Minor League statistics since the Red Sox selected him in the eighth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. In his first full professional season in 2004, he batted .353 with 111 RBIs. This year, he socked 15 homers in just 51 contests for Sacramento, and he's smashed 14 more as a member of the A's, despite inconsistent playing time.

"Whenever you get in the game, you just try to continue to be the same player and grind out at-bats and try to contribute in any way," Moss said. "Obviously, the playing time has dipped, but you can't complain about it. The guys that are in there are playing well and that's just part of winning in baseball."

The recipe for Oakland's success has been receiving contributions from every nook and cranny on the 25-man roster. Melvin's changing batting order has played a large part in the club's Major League-best 49-27 record since June 2.

Moss has done his best to reward Melvin when called upon. After all, it's a win-win for the player and the team when it works out.

"You'll take the wins over the at-bats any time," Moss said, "because this has been a very special, fun year."

Zack Meisel is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.