OAKLAND — Jake Smolinski has made a big impression with his bat in less than 24 hours of his first home games for Oakland.
Smolinski homered twice for four RBIs a day after driving in the tying run in the ninth as a pinch hitter, Josh Reddick hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics slugged past the Minnesota Twins 14-1 on Sunday.
“It was a good day for everybody. Pitchers pitched great, hitters hit great. It was just a fun win,” Smolinski said. “The team made me feel like I was a part since Day 1. Obviously everybody wants to help contribute and I’m just trying to do my part right now and hopefully we’ll get it rolling.”
Just about everybody got involved in this rare rout to support hard-luck starter Jesse Chavez.
Billy Butler and Josh Phegley hit two-run homers for the A’s, who cleared the fences a season-high five times to boost their 2015 total to 80.
Smolinski hit a three-run homer in the eighth and an earlier solo shot for his first career multihomer game. The outfielder was promoted from Triple-A on July 7.
Chavez (5-9) struck out nine in six innings for his second highest total of the year. He snapped a three-start losing streak with his first victory since June 23 at Texas, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
“It was awesome watching the guys hit,” Chavez said. “I felt refreshed. I felt awkward out there for just a couple innings, but after that it felt normal again. It was fun to get back out there after the long break.”
Smolinski followed Butler’s third-inning home run with a solo drive off Tommy Milone (5-2) for his first clout with the A’s. Reddick hit his third career grand slam in the fifth against J.R. Graham.
Now, the A’s want to string some series wins together. The power hitting sure helps.
“We’ve been in spurts,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You see the potential, it’s just not as consistent as we’d like to this point.”
Milone hadn’t allowed a home run in five starts since Elvis Andrus connected in the seventh inning June 12 at Texas. The left-hander surrendered three facing his former team for the first time since the A’s traded him at last year’s July 31 deadline for outfielder Sam Fuld.
Milone’s afternoon was done — he had been 3-0 in five day starts this year — when Brett Lawrie followed Smolinski’s full-count homer with a single. Phegley and Ben Zobrist added RBI doubles in the inning.
“These days are rare, just enjoy them,” Butler said.
Milone saw the end of his streak of four straight winning decisions over a six-start span with his shortest outing of the season at 2 2/3 innings. He yielded a season-high seven runs and matched his most with five earned runs.
In the second, Lawrie reached on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Danny Santana and Phegley followed with a drive to left for his sixth home run. The backup catcher has five homers and 14 RBIs over his last 17 games.
Another mistake led to Butler’s ninth home run. Milone plunked Mark Canha with two outs to bring up Zobrist.
Reddick had his first grand slam since May 16 last year at Cleveland.
Shane Robinson hit an RBI triple in the ninth as Minnesota lost for only the third time in 10 games having outscored opponents 50-27 in the previous nine.
“We got whiffed pretty good,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Melvin won his 386th game managing the A’s, tying him with Ken Macha for third most in Oakland history behind Tony La Russa (798) and Art Howe (600).
Twins: DH Miguel Sano sat out with a sprained right ankle he played through Saturday night. He was injured during pregame warmups when he stepped on a ball. It became sore as the game went on and Sano had a hard time planting on that foot, then needed crutches to get to the hotel Saturday night and again Sunday. Molitor said Sano would be re-evaluated but he is hopeful it will be only three to five days.
Athletics: Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, out since June 11 with a strained right shoulder, will throw batting practice Monday at Class-A Stockton — 15 pitches with each arm. … RHP Taylor Thompson (strained right shoulder) will throw one inning for Stockton on Tuesday.
Twins: Off day Monday. RHP Kyle Gibson (8-6) pitches Tuesday against the Angels in Anaheim.
Athletics: Off day Monday. RHP Kendall Graveman pitches the series opener against Mark Buehrle (10-5) and the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.