Moss' five-RBI night fuels A's seventh straight win

Moss' five-RBI night fuels A's seventh straight win

ANAHEIM -- Journeyman no more, Brandon Moss has found a home with the A's at first base.

And that's exactly where the slugger's focus is this year, never mind a breakout 2012 campaign at the plate, where Moss tallied 21 home runs and 52 RBIs in just 84 games. Topping those marks isn't his priority.

"My goal was to get better at first base and be a good defensive first baseman," Moss said. "The offense will take care of itself."

That it has.

Moss led a seemingly unstoppable A's club to its seventh straight win on Wednesday, collecting three hits while falling a double short of the cycle by walking in the ninth and picking up five RBIs in another imposing victory, this one an 11-5 drubbing of the division-favorite Angels.

Moss has nine RBIs in the series, with one more game still to be played on Thursday night, and he will enter it batting an even .400.

"He's really starting to become a complete player," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a must for us. It's a testament to a good person that works his butt off and is now really getting some results at the big league level."

Moss spent parts of five seasons in the Majors with Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with a pit stop spent in the International League along the way, before picking up a Minor League contract with Oakland last year and enjoying a breakthrough campaign following a June callup.

Moss quickly turned what was once simply thought to be a temporary opportunity into something much more. And now?

"He doesn't really surprise me anymore," said starter Tommy Milone.

That's essentially how the baseball realm should feel about the A's, who seem to be continuing what they started in a domineering second half that led to a division title last year.

After scoring just one run total over their first two games, both losses to the Mariners, the A's have outscored their opponents 57-23 in the seven that have followed, marking the first time they've started a season 7-2 since 2003.

The Angels, plagued again Wednesday by missed scoring opportunities and poor pitching, have only won two games and, even with Josh Hamilton in tow, appear to be riding down the same slow track they ventured down last April.

They sit dead last in the American League West, looking up at the first-place A's. Hamilton, by the way, is batting just .156.

Like Los Angeles, Oakland didn't have an April to remember either last year. The A's won 11 games, next to 13 losses during that span. But unlike the Angels, Oakland transformed into a contender that put together a magical season.

The A's surely had to work hard for their division crown. This year's club is merely making everything look easy.

Granted, only nine games are in the books, but in that time the A's have proved that they can really hit, despite some doubters saying otherwise. They've tallied 10 or more hits in each of their last seven games, including 16 on this night.

Many of them have been homers, but on Wednesday it was all about manufacturing runs, outside of Moss' fifth-inning solo shot off starter Joe Blanton. Each of Oakland's starting nine picked up at least one hit, and they also drew seven walks, including three in a row issued by relievers Mark Lowe and Dane De La Rosa in a five-run sixth.

"That was just great selfless baseball," Moss said. "Seeing guys go up there and not try to do too much but just get the guy over, it sets the tone for the night and that's when you see quality at-bats."

"Guys here will work counts, work at-bats and pass it on to the next guy, and that's how everyone's getting to hit," Melvin said. "That's the way it's been here the last six or seven games, and we feel like our lineup is deep enough to where we can score any inning."

Fittingly, leadoff hitter Coco Crisp was the first to score, notching a base hit off Blanton and stealing second before finding his way home on a pair of groundouts. He has scored a run in each of the club's seven wins and leads the Majors with 13.

The Angels plated a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning off Milone, but the A's got three in the third on an RBI knock from John Jaso and a two-run triple from Moss, who had not tripled since Sept. 18, 2009.

Los Angeles, again, countered with a run, but Moss' home run in the fifth pushed the A's to a 5-2 lead, one the Angels quickly narrowed with two runs in the bottom of the frame.

That's all they would get until the eighth, with Milone exiting after five with four runs to his name, while the A's proved far from done, utilizing the sixth to break open the game, before Moss locked up his final RBI of the night in the seventh with a single.

"It seems like we've started off this year just as we did the last half of last year," Milone said. "It's a good feeling."

Jane Lee is a reporter for Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.