OAKLAND -- A note next to the lineup card in the A's clubhouse Monday warned hitters that home runs don't start rallies, they end them. It stressed the importance of getting pitchers into the stretch and trusting teammates to produce behind them.
Maybe it was a hoax, or maybe the A's just ignored the message. Either way, the A's used five home runs to power their way to a 10-0 Memorial Day win over their postseason nemesis, the Detroit Tigers.
A crowd of 35,067 -- the third sellout of the season at O.co Coliseum -- saw Derek Norris hit his first career grand slam and the A's blast four solo home runs in the first three innings.
Tommy Milone worked 62/3 innings of four-hit ball as the A's quieted a Tigers team that entered the game with the American League's best record, a distinction Oakland now holds after the victory.
Despite the clubhouse note, A's manager Bob Melvin didn't mind seeing the ball fly out of the park. He said the message was about getting hitters to "pass the baton, make guys work, get in good counts. You don't have to necessarily be the guy."
Norris acknowledged that home runs can serve a rally-killing purpose sometimes, but not in this situation.
"When you end up hitting four or five of them in a day, you can probably make a different statement," he said. "Sometimes that's more for the solo home runs. Any time you can scratch across two or three grand slams, those are hardly rally-killers. Those are how you bury a team."
The A's were back in Oakland on Monday after losing the final four games of their nine-game trip, including a three-game weekend sweep in Toronto. They scored just seven runs during those four defeats.
Situational hitting had been a big issue, and it looked like that might continue. The A's put runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning but came up empty.
Brandon Moss, perhaps sensing the team's offensive frustrations, tried to bunt against an exaggerated shift to lead off the second inning. That attempt failed, so one pitch later he hit a blast to center field that Austin Jackson got a glove on but couldn't pull back in, and it went over the fence for Moss' 12th home run.
Kyle Blanks, whom the A's acquired just before the start of their three-city trip, found immediate success in his new home ballpark when he crushed a solo shot to left in his first career Coliseum at-bat. He said there was no scolding in the dugout for the A's power surge.
"I don't think you're ever going to get in trouble for it," Blanks said. "I think it's more just the thought process of really not trying to do too much. Today was a great example of nobody really trying to do too much and everybody contributing."
Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes added back-to-back solo homers in the third inning, and the A's scored twice more in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp and a two-out RBI single by Donaldson before Norris' eighth-inning grand slam.
Donaldson said home runs are and will continue to be an important part of the A's repertoire.
"I think that we need to hit home runs, and we're going to hit home runs because of the kind of guys we have in this locker room," Donaldson said. "With that said, we've done a great job all year of passing the baton. We went into a little tough stretch in Toronto where those guys pitched really well. Sometimes you've got to tip your cap to the other opponent. We turned the page and came in here today and we got the job done."
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Detroit (Max Scherzer 6-1) at A's (Sonny Gray 5-1), 7:05 p.m. CSNCA