Baseball is back in the Bay; Giants down the A’s 5-1 on Sunday

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Baseball returned to the Bay Area on Sunday afternoon as the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics played the first of three annual Bay Bridge Exhibition Series games at the Coliseum in Oakland. The G-Men came out on top in game of one as they downed the A’s 5-1 before 21,229 fans on very chilly day.

Johnny Cueto made the start for the Giants and Daniel Gossett took the hill for the A’s. If you are a Giants fan you are very happy with the way Cueto pitched especially with the loss of Bumgarner. The big righthander pitched 5.2-innings giving up just one run (earned) on five hits. He struck out six and walked just one batter. Cueto threw 82 pitches (57 strikes). He looks ready to go for the regular season.

The Athletics  Daniel Gossett looked good for the first two innings and then ran into some real trouble in the top of the third inning. Gossett gave up three runs off three three hits with the real damage coming from a Buster Posey two-run double that slammed off the center field wall. He would give up a solo run in the fourth inning.

Gossett worked 3.2 innings giving up those four runs (all earned) on five hits. He struck out two and walked one. Gossett threw 78 pitches (47 strikes).

“I thought his stuff was good. Similar to what we saw during regular Spring Training. He just did’t throw enough strikes,”said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “He got himself in a jam and Posey got a big hit … they scored some runs off of it. He has to be a little more efficient with his strikes and get ahead in the count.”

The A’s used six pitchers in the contest:

  • Yusmeiro Petit worked 1.1 scoreless innings giving up no hits.
  • Daniel Coulombe struck one and walked one but did not give up a hit in his one inning on the mound.
  • Liam Hendricks posted all zeros in his inning on the hill. Melvin said it was his best outing of the training season.
  • Raul Alcantara struggled in his one inning giving up one run on one hit. The hit was a home run to the Panda – Pablo Sandoval. Melvin indicated Alcantara has to start throwing his breaking ball for strikes.
  • Simon Castro closed out the game by giving up no runs on no hits while striking out two and walking one.

There were not the many highlights on offense. The A’s only run came in the bottom of third inning when Dustin Fowler led off the inning with base hit. After Joyce came close to hitting one of out the park to deep center field, Semien grounded out to short and that moved Fowler into scoring position at second base. Jed Lowrie then hit a single up the middle and the speedy Fowler raced home to score the only run of the game for the Athletics.

The totals in game for the Giants were five runs, seven hits and no errors while the A’s posted one run, six hits and two errors. San Francisco is now 14-15 for the spring and Oakland falls to 13-15.

The two meet in San Francisco on Monday night.

Athletics Current Roster

Khris Davis
Khris Davis is ready for the season to begin Photo: @Athletics

The A’s have 17 pitchers, seven infielders, seven outfielders and three catchers for a total of 34 players. That number must be cut to 25 by Thursday. Look for Oakland to keep 13 pitchers, 10 position players and 2 catchers.

Due to injuries, the A’s are down to five starting pitchers by default. It appears the bullpen will receive maximum usage this season. The team did work at upgrading the relief corps in the off-season and now it appears it is a good thing they did with the injuries to the starters.

Who will play center field?

The battle is between Dustin Fowler, Boog Powell and Jeff Smolinski. Powell saw action with the A’s in 2017 playing in 29 games and hitting .282 including three home runs. He also played in 23 games for the Seattle Mariners before being traded to Oakland. Smolinski appeared in 16 games for the Athletics batting .259 with an OPS .607.

The Athletics acquired Fowler from the New York Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade. Fowler appeared in one game for the Yankees which is the total of his MLB experience. When Fowler was traded, he was on the disabled list with a ruptured right patellar tendon. He came off the DL last November.

Powell is hitting .250 for the spring with an OPS of .665. He has hit two home runs and two stolen bases. Fowler is batting .195 in 41 trips to the plate this spring. He has not hit a home run but has recorded four RBI and has three stolen bases. His OPS is .471.

Smolinski has hit .289 this spring with an OPS of 1.003. He has hit four home runs and recorded 13 RBI. Those are some numbers that may be hard to ignore

This appears to be a battle between power and speed. The advantage that Fowler possesses is his speed which can be a real asset on defense and could be a real help on offense if he could use that speed to get into scoring position. The problem is the on-base-percentage of .227. If that OBP is over .350, now that speed becomes a weapon.

The fact is the experience and offensive production of Powell and Smolinski gives them a real advantage in staying with the “big club” on Thursday and beyond. The A’s need Fowler to develop into a leadoff hitter who can get on base by the base hit, bunt or base-on-balls. He probably needs some time at Triple-A to work on those skills.

After the game on Sunday, Bob Melvin had this to say about Fowler, “He’s doing a nice job and he’s starting to swing the bat better. He’s starting to hit the ball the other way which means he’s getting on top of the ball and more on track. Early in the spring that wasn’t the case. His bats are getting better and better.”

Athletics sweep the Rangers out of town by winning 8-1 on Sunday in Oakland

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Jed Lowrie loads up to hit a two-run double Photo Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

by Charlie O. Mallonee and Jordan Chapin

Oakland – The Athletics have now won seven games in a row after sweeping a three-game series from the Wild Card contending Texas Rangers. The A’s completed the sweep with an 8-1 win on Sunday in front of 18,706 fans at the Coliseum on “Hecho en Oakland” Day.

This was also the second consecutive series sweep for the Athletics who took a three-game series from the Tigers in Detroit to wrap up a nine-game road trip. Oakland has now won seven consecutive games. That is their longest winning streak of the season.

The Athletics (72-83) have won 14 games in September – the most in any month this year.

Warning!

Many experts will tell you not to fall in love with “September baseball”. There is some great wisdom in that statement. Rosters have been expanded. Players may be playing over their heads as they try to impress the front offices. Some veterans are just going through the motions. It is not a true barometer of what is going to happen in the future.

In the case of the Athletics, two very important things have happened in September that are worth noting for the future:

  • This young Oakland roster has learned to win on the road. The A’s have been tough at home all season but have been terrible away from the Coliseum. This newly constituted roster of “young guns” has taken on the challenge from Bob Melvin and learned how to win on the road. That is a lesson that can carry over into April of next year.
  • The Athletics also became a team that plays their division opponents tough. The A’s swept a four-game series from the Astros in September. Now they have swept the Rangers. Taking care of business with the teams in your division is the key to becoming competitive and moving toward becoming a playoff contender.

Pitching was a real key for the A’s

Jharel Cotton started the game for Oakland. He had to be scratched from his scheduled started start in Detroit due a strained groin. He showed no signs of having any problems with that issue during the game on Sunday.

Cotton threw his fastball at speeds of up to 95 mph and then would stop-down the change-up by as much as 15 mph. The Rangers hitters were just completely off-balance.

Cotton worked 5.0 – innings allowing no runs on just one hit. He walked one Texas batter while striking out six. Cotton threw 77 pitches (51 strikes).

Cotton set the side down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

After the game, Cotton had nothing but compliments for the way his teammates played in the game.

Cotton is now 9-10 on the season and has the most wins for any rookie pitcher in the American League.

It was revealed after the game that Cotton experienced some tightness in his throwing elbow and that is why he did not continue after the fifth inning. He appeared to be fine in the clubhouse after the game.

Oakland exploded for five runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and added one in the eighth

The Athletics insured the win for Cotton by posting five runs off Texas starter Martin Perez (12-12) in the home half of the fifth inning. Catcher Josh Phegley led the inning off with a base hit and eventually eight batters would come to the plate.

The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Khris – yes you can call me “Krush” – Davis who hit his 41st home run of the year off Perez. It was a two-run shot that hit off the concrete wall just under the windows of the suites in straightaway center field.

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Khris Davis at the plate against the Rangers Photo by Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

Athletics in the batter’s box

  • As a team: 8 runs on 10 hits, six men left on base, 5-for-13 with Runners In Scoring Position
  • Phegley 2-for-3 with a double (11) and an RBI (10)
  • Chapman 2-for-5 including two doubles (21) and two RBI (36)
  • Khris Davis also recorded his 105th RBI

Oakland relief pitching

The relievers did not have a perfect outing as all four were not able to post “Goose Eggs” in the run column. Simon Castro – who worked 1.2-innings of relief – did give up one run on a solo home run to Normar Mazara (20). That was the only run the Rangers would score.

Daniel Coulombe, Santiago Casilla and Liam Hendriks combined to work 2.1-innings of scoreless relief for the A’s and preserve the victory.

A’s manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his team after the game

Melvin also spoke about team goals, the health of Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling.

Texas Rangers

There has not been much mention of the Rangers in this article because for all intensive purposes their season came to an end today. They came into this weekend series still contending for a potential spot as a Wild Card team in the American League Playoffs. After the loss on Sunday, the Rangers are 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot with seven games remaining to play.

The Rangers final seven games are all home games. They have a three-game series with the Astros that begins on Monday and a four-game series with the A’s that begins on Thursday.

The Twins are on a four-game winning streak.

Up next

The A’s begin their final three-game home series of the season on Monday night with Seattle Mariners. RHP Daniel Gossett (4-9,5.38) will start for Oakland while Seattle will send “King” Felix Hernandez (5-5,4.57) to the hill.

Orioles 12 runs, 20 hits & a win; A’s lose as Manaea goes only 1/3 of an inning

 

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Bob Melvin after the 12-5 loss on Manaea and more

A’s fans did not see this one coming

The Baltimore Orioles sent 11 men to the plate and Sean Manaea to the showers in the top the first inning on Saturday night in Oakland. Manaea was no mystery to the O’s hitters who roughed him up for six runs (all earned) on six hits in 1/3 inning of work.

RHP Michael Brady – who was just recalled from Nashville by the Athletics – took over for Manaea with one out in first inning. He gave up one run when he gave up a two RBI-double to the Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham (one run was charged to Manaea). After 1/2 inning of play, Baltimore led Oakland 7-0.

The A’s made some noise of their own in the bottom of the first. Newcomer Boog Powell picked up a leadoff walk. Chad Pinder struck out and Jed Lowrie grounded out. That brought Khris Davis to the plate to face RHP Dylan Bundy. Davis hit the first pitch from Bundy over center field wall for a two-run home run – his 32nd of the season. After one inning of play, the Baltimore led Oakland 7-2.

The Athletics held the Orioles scoreless in the top of the second inning. Rookie Matt Olson led off the bottom of the second for the A’s. He took the 1-0 pitch from Bundy over the right field wall on a line drive for his sixth home of the year to make a 7-3 game. The crowd of 29,742 fans started coming to life because it looked like the Athletics might make a game of it after all.

The Orioles began to dash the hopes of the Oakland fans in the top of the fourth inning. Joey Rickard led off and was hit by a pitch. Tim Beckham hit a double that moved Rickard to third. With two out and runners at second and third, the veteran Adam Jones singled to left-center field and drove the runners home to give Baltimore a 9-3 lead over the Athletics.

The A’s made some noise in the home half of the eighth inning with Orioles third pitcher of the game Miguel Castro on the mound. Ryon Healy led off with a single to right. With one out, Matt Chapman doubled to left moving Healy up to third base. Catcher Bruce Maxwell hit a sacrifice fly to center field that brought Healy home from third and moved Chapman up to third. Marcus Semien singled to right to drive Chapman in from third to make it a 9-5 game in favor of the Orioles. At that point, A’s fans felt like their team still had a chance to comeback in the game.

The Athletics went with their only left-handed reliever – Daniel Coulombe – to face the O’s in the ninth. The Orioles were not kind to Coulombe as they scored three runs on five hits (including three doubles). When the top half of the inning was over, Baltimore held a commanding 12-5 lead which would ultimately be the final score of the game.

The Orioles scored 12 runs on 20 hits. The committed one error and left nine runners on base. The A’s put up five runs on 10 hits. They played error free baseball and also left nine men on base.

Time of the game was 3 hours and 20 minutes.

In the batters box

Bal Jones vet hitting
Veteran Adam Jones went 3-for-5 at the plate*

Oakland

  • Khris Davis had a 2-for-4 game that included a home run (32) and two RBI (83)
  • Matt Olson showed his power with home run number six and RBI number 12
  • Matt Chapman went 2-for-3 with two doubles (12), one run and one RBI
  • DH Ryon Healy was 2-for-5 and scored a run
  • The A’s were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position

Baltimore

Bal Beckham Maxwell
The A’s saw way too much of Beckham on Saturday*
  • Tim Beckham continues to hit at another level since joining the Orioles. He went 4-for-5 in this game with three doubles (12), scored three runs and posted three RBI (45). Beckham extended his hitting streak to 12 games. There have to be some general managers asking how did we overlook him at the trade deadline?
  • The veteran Adam Jones had a 3-for-5 night at the plate and recorded three RBI. He also scored a run.
  • First baseman Chris Davis who has been struggling going just 1-for-14 on the current road trip had 2-for-4 night that included two RBI.
  • The O’s scored 12 runs without the benefit of hitting one home run in the contest. They did hit eight doubles in the game. Many of those extra-base hits banged off the walls.
  • As a team, Baltimore was 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position

On the hill

Oakland

  • It was a nightmare for starter Sean Manaea who takes the loss and falls to 8-7 on the season. He gave up six runs (all earned) on six hits in 0.1 innings of work. His ERA now stands at 4.59
  • Michael Brady worked hard coming into a very difficult long relief situation early in the game. He worked 5.1 innings giving up three runs (earned) on seven hits. Brady struck out five Orioles and walked none
  • Liam Hendriks worked a scoreless 1.1 innings
  • Josh Smith did not allow a run in his one inning of work
  • Daniel Coulombe allowed three runs (earned) on five hits in one inning of relief

Baltimore

BAL Dylan Bundy
Dylan Bundy struck out 10 A’s hitters on his way to the win
  • Dylan Bundy got the win and improves to 12-8 on the season. It was an odd win by the numbers. He pitched 6.0 innings giving up three runs (earned) on seven hits including two home runs which accounted for all three runs. Bundy walked three and struck out 10 (the second time his has struck out that many in his career)
  • Darren O’Day worked a perfect seventh inning
  • Miguel Castro lasted just 0.2 innings giving up two runs on three hits to the A’s in the eighth inning.
  • Mychal Givens (a converted infielder) closed the game giving up no runs or hits in his 1.1 innings on the hill

Up next

The Orioles and Athletics will conclude their four-game series on Sunday at the Coliseum beginning at 1:05 pm PDT. Baltimore will start RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.08) while Oakland will send RHP Kendall Graveman (2-3, 4.97) to the mound for the home team.

*Photos USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A’s Report: Three important stories on King, Gray and a walk-off win

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Most Import Oakland Athletics Story of Saturday, July 29, 2017:

Bill King receives the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Thank you Mr. King. Holy Toledo! You made it to the Hall of Fame!

Second Most Important Athletics Story of Saturday, July 29, 2017:

Sonny Gray reportedly has been scratched as the starter for the game on Sunday

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Photo: Bruce Kluckhorn USA TODAY Sports

Multiple sources from USA Today Sports to Bleacher Report and more are reporting that Oakland pitcher Sonny Gray has been scratched as the starter in final game of the series with the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon. With the Major League trade deadline set for Monday, July 31 at 1 p.m. PDT, the anticipation is that a deal involving Gray is in the final stages and his potential new club would want to have him ready to start as soon as possible.

Many of those same sources are pointing to the Yankees as being the final destination for Gray which really comes as no surprise. New York needs a starter to replace Michael Pineda and have been on the hunt since he went to the disabled list. The hang-up seems to be the price the Athletics want for Gray.

As the late, great broadcaster Red Barber used say the A’s know “they are in the catbird’s seat!” They have what the Yankees need plus Sonny Gray comes with two additional years of team control. That is going to come at a price and Oakland wants young, very talented prospects.

The Yankees have one of the most talented minor league organizations in the major leagues. Naturally, they want to give up as little as they have to in order to acquire Gray. It’s like buying a car, everybody has to keep going back to the sales manager to see if they can get it for that price.

If you are an A’s fan, the sad news is by August 1 Sonny Gray will be wearing a different uniform. The good news is you will have some great young talent for team when the new stadium opens in 2021 or so.

Third Most Important Athletics Story of Saturday, July 29, 2017:

Athletics break five-game losing streak and give Melvin win 1000

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Athletics celebrate walk-off victory

The Oakland Athletics ended a five-game losing streak in dramatic fashion on Saturday night when Rajai Davis hit a 1-0 pitch from the Twins Taylor Rogers over the left-center field wall with Adam Rosales on at first to give the A’s a 5-4 walk-off victory. The big crowd of 27,047 on fireworks night exploded with excitement as their team celebrated the win at home plate.

The win was also significant for Athletics manager Bob Melvin as it was the 1000th of his major league career. After the game, he was quick to downplay the milestone but it is one to be celebrated and honored as only 64 other managers have accomplished that feat.

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Oakland Manager Bob Melvin Photo: Sporting News

The A’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first-inning thanks to an RBI-double by Ryon Healy that drove Rajai Davis home from second base. The Twins came back and scored two runs on three hits and left the bases loaded in the second inning. A’s starter Chris Smith almost did not make it out of that inning.

Minnesota scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning when Miguel Sano hit his 24th home run of the season — a two-run shot — down the right field line. That gave the Twins a commanding 4-1 lead.

Ryon Healy hit his second double of the game to lead off the A’s half of the fifth inning. With two out, Yonder Alonso drove Healy home on a single to left-center field. The Twins held a 4-2 after five.

Rookie Matt Chapman breathed hope into the fans when hit a 2-0 pitch from LHP Buddy Boshers deep into the stands in left field for his sixth home run of the season. The round-tripper chased Boshers from the game and closed the gap to a one-run lead for the Twins at 4-3.

After Daniel Coulombe held the Twins scoreless in the top of the ninth, the A’s put Adam Rosales in the game to pinch-hit for Jaycob Brugman. Rosales drew a walk off Taylor Rogers. That brought Davis to bat who ended the game with his fourth home run of the year.

In the batter’s box

  • Rajai Davis went 4-for-5 on the night including the home run, two runs scored and two RBI. This was the second walk-off home run of his career.
  • Ryon Healy had a 2-for-4 game with both hits being doubles. He now has 21 two-baggers on the season. Healy also had an RBI (58) and scored a run.
  • Matt Chapman went 1-for-4 against the Twins but his one hit was his sixth home run of the year which created his 10th RBI as well.
  • Jed Lowrie broke out of an 0-for-14 hitless streak with a single in the third inning.
  • Minnesota’s Miguel Sano’ had a 1-for-5 game hitting his 24th home run of the year. It was his first home run in a road game since July 1 in Kansas City.
  • Zack Granite went 2-for-4 for the Twins and posted two RBI. That extended his hitting streak to nine games.

On the hill

  • Chad Smith had a rough start for the A’s versus the Twins and really had to work very hard to hang in there for 5.0-innings. He gave up four runs (all earned) on seven hits. He walked three and struck out four. Smith allowed one home run and did not figure into the final decision.
  • The A’s used four relievers in the game: Dull, Casilla, Josh Smith and Coulombe. Each pitched one inning. Each gave up one hit. None gave up a run which was the key to Oakland hanging in for a chance to win the game.
  • The victory went to Daniel Coulombe (2-1) who was the pitcher of record in the ninth inning.
  • Casilla was used to pitch the seventh inning which was a bit of surprise. This does not mean that he has been demoted from the closer’s role.
  • Taylor Rogers takes the loss for the Twins. His record falls to 5-3 and he also records his third blown save of the season.
  • Minnesota used four pitchers in the game.

Up next

The same two teams meet on Sunday in Oakland at 1:05 p.m. RHP — “the ageless one” — Bartolo Colon (2-9, 8.00) is scheduled to go for the Twins, and if the reports are true, TBA will be on the mound for the Oakland Athletics in place of Sonny Gray.

Two notes from disabled list

  • Chad Pinder went 1-for-3 in a rehab start for Triple-A Nashville Saturday. He has played eight games for the Sounds and has gone 5-for-27 including one home run.
  • Kendall Graveman made a rehab start for the Sounds on Saturday. He pitched 4.2-innings allowing four hits, one run (earned) while walking two and striking out five.

Flores hits a walk-off home run to give the Mets a 6-5 win over the Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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The Oakland Athletics have the worst road record (15-31) in the major leagues. It is one of the main reasons they are mired in last place in the American League West and are about to dismantle their team to begin a major rebuilding process.

On Saturday night after jumping out to a 5-0 lead over the New York Mets, the A’s allowed the Metropolitans to claw their way back into the game. The Mets tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Lucas Duda hit a single off Daniel Coulombe that drove Travis d’Arnaud home from second base.

In the bottom of the ninth with two out and the bases empty, Wilmer Flores hit the 1-0 pitch from A’s reliever Simon Castro into the first row of seats in left field to give the Mets a 6-5 win. It was the ninth home run of the season for Flores and the second consecutive win for the Mets (45-50) over the Athletics (43-54).

In the batter’s box

Oakland

  • Matt Joyce put the A’s on the board in the first inning when he hit the 0-1 pitch from Zack Wheeler over the center field fence for his 13th home run of the year. Joyce now has 39 RBI for the season.
  • Matt Chapman showed off his power hitting by putting a Wheeler pitch into the second deck in left field for his third home run of the year. Chapman also had a sacrifice fly in the game to give him two RBI. He has seven RBI since joining the A’s.
  • Catcher Bruce Maxwell hit an RBI-double.
  • The A’s scored five runs on 10 hits and left nine runners on base. They were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

NYM

  • Flores — who is one of the Mets that does not appear to be on the trading block — went 2-for-5 including that game winning walk-off home run. Flores also hit his 13th double of the year in the game and scored two runs.
  • Jose Reyes hit his sixth triple of the season and also scored a run while going 2-for-4 for New York.
  • Jay Bruce hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning. It was his 25th home run and it raised his RBI total to 65. Bruce is one the Mets who is expected to be with another team by the July 31 trade deadline.
  • Travis d’Arnaud made it safely to base four times in the game. He went 3-for-3 with a walk. d’Arnaud scored a run and added an RBI.
  • The Mets scored six runs on 14 hits. They left eight men on base and were 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

On the hill

Athletics

  • Starter Sean Manaea pitched well through the first five innings but ran into some real problems in the sixth inning when he gave up four earned-runs. Manaea worked 5.2-innings giving up four runs (all earned) on 10 hits. He struck out two and walked one while allowing one home run. Manaea did not figure in the final decision.
  • The A’s relief corps was roughed up in the game. Hendriks gave up two runs, Coulombe was charged with a blown save and Simon Castro took the loss for giving up the game winning home run to Flores.
  • Newcomer Blake Treinen was credited with a hold.

Mets

  • Starter Zack Wheeler gave up five runs (all earned) on seven hits in 5.0-innings of work. He struck out six and walked four batters while giving up two home runs. He did not figure into the final decision.
  • The trio of Mets relievers — Smoker, Edgin and Robles — did not give up a run to the A’s in the final four innings of the game.
  • Hansel Robles (6-1) was the pitcher of record when Flores hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth and he was credited with the win.

Up next

The A’s and Mets will meet on Sunday for the third and final game of the series. Oakland will send RHP Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40 ERA) who will start for the Mets. Game time is 10:10 a.m. PDT.

Chapman and Davis lead a power explosion as the A’s beat the Indians 5-3

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Athletics kept telling everyone the kid had power – tonight he showed it off

The A’s have won two consecutive games since the All-Star Break: Melvin’s happy

The game in brief

CLE Kluber game
Kluber struck out 12 A’s hitters*

Cleveland sent veteran All-Star Corey Kluber to the hill to face the Athletics rookie Paul Blackburn who was just making the third start of his major league career on Saturday night. The game really belonged to the hurlers for much of the early stages. Pitching mistakes highlighted the runs that were scored early.

Kluber (7-3, 2.86) certainly would like to have the 2-1 offering back that Matt Chapman hit over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the third inning for the first home run of his MLB career. Kluber had not allowed a hit until the home run which put the A’s up 1-0.

The young Mr. Blackburn (1-0, 1.83) put himself and the A’s into jeopardy in the top of the fourth by giving up a leadoff walk to Michael Brantley. Edwin Encarnacion then followed up by taking the 0-1 pitch from Blackburn down the left field line for a two -run home run (19). Blackburn fought his way through the inning without allowing any additional runs but the Indians held a 2-1 lead.

With two out and the bases empty in the home-half of the fifth, Chapman hit a solid double to right off Kluber. Rajai Davis followed with an RBi-single to right and the A’s had tied the game at 2-2.

In the top of the sixth, Blackburn put himself back on the griddle when he issued a leadoff walk to Encarnacion. Jose Ramirez singled to right and Encarnacion advanced to third. Carlos Santana grounded to the right side of the infield but because the shift was on the only play was to first base. Encarnacion scored easily from third to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead.

A trio of A’s relievers finished the game for Oakland giving no runs on no hits and did not allow a Cleveland baserunner.

Kluber came out and started the eighth inning for the Indians. He was still looking strong as he had struck out 12 A’s batters. The first Oakland hitter was Matt Chapman who hit Kluber’s first pitch over the center field wall for his second home run of the night. That tied the game at 3-3 and chased Kluber from the contest.

The Indians were unable to score in the top of the ninth so the game remained tied as the A’s came to bat.

Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller walked Oakland’s leadoff man Yonder Alonso. Terry Francona pulled Miller and inserted Bryan Shaw into the game. The first batter to face Shaw was Khris Davis. Davis worked the count to 3-2 and then Davis hit the next pitch over the right-center field wall for a two-run walkoff home run giving the A’s a 5-3 win over the Indians.

The win guarantees that Oakland (41-50) will the series which concludes on Sunday.

The win goes to Ryan Madson (2-4, 2.06). The Indians reliever Andrew Miller (3-3, 1.60) takes the loss.

Take a bow

CLE Chapman
Chapman digs for second vs Cleveland*

Come back out for an encore Mr. Chapman. The rookie third baseman was a perfect 3-for-3 in the game with all three hits coming off Corey Kluber. Chapman not only hit his first major league home run but he also had the first multi-home run game of his career. Do not forget his other hit was a double that turned into a run when Rajai Davis hit a single that drove him home. So, Chapman also posted three runs and two RBi on Saturday night.

Indians pitcher Corey Kluber does deserve honorable mention even though he did not figure into the decision. He struck out 12 hitters in his 7.1 innings of work while walking none. The reason Kluber also gets kudos is he threw 106 pitches (72 strikes). 100-plus pitches: “that’s old school” and it deserves an nod.

In the batter’s box

Khris Davis has to be brought out for a standing ovation for hitting his second walk-off home run of the season (the fourth of his career). It was his 25th round-tripper of the year to go with 62 RBi.

The Indians Edwin Encarnacion also deserves a nod for 2-for-3 game that included his 19th home run and two RBi.

On the hill

Hats off to the A’s trio of relievers who worked the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Liam Hendriks, Daniel Coulombe and Ryan Madson combined to pitch a perfect final three innings to give the Athletics a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth.

Up next for the Athletics

The Indians and Athletics wrap up this three-game series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at the Coliseum on Rickey Henderson Field.

  • Indians – RHP Trevor Bauer (7-7, 5.24) will be the starter for Cleveland. It will be his 18th start of the season and his first start in nine days. Bauer lost his last start 6-2 to the San Diego on July 5 when he allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits in 5.0 innings.
  • Athletics – Oakland will counter with LHP Sean Manaea (7-5, 3.76). He lost his last start on July 7 in Seattle giving up three runs (earned) on eight hits in 7.0 innings on the mound. Manaea walked one and struck out three Mariners. He beat the Indians back on May 31 in Cleveland as he struck out nine Indians in seven innings. The A’s won that game 3-1.

 For you long-range planners

Sonny Gray is scheduled to start the final game of the Tampa Bay series on Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. If you are a Gray fan, I’m just saying …

*Photos Ed Szczepanski – USA Today Sports

Athletics win fifth game in a row downing the Mariners 4-3

by Charlie O. Mallonee

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
A’s starter Jharel Cotton labored but picked up the win on Saturday Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics now have the longest winning streak in the American League with five consecutive wins. They have also taken the first three games of the four-game series with the Seattle Mariners by recording 4-3 win on Saturday in Oakland.

The A’s fell behind quickly in the game when Robinson Cano hit his third home run of the season off of A’s starter Jharel Cotton with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the first inning. It looked like Seattle was ready to put up a fight in game three of the series.

The Athletics did not allow the M’s to hold the lead for long as Adam Rosales did his best Ricky Henderson imitation by hitting a leadoff home run over the center field wall to tie the game at 1-1 off Seattle starter Ariel Miranda.

The A’s were not done scoring in the bottom of the first. After Jed Lowrie singled, Ryan Healy took Miranda deep for two-run homer (3) over the left field wall. Oakland staked their starter Cotton to a 3-1 lead after the first inning.

Both teams scored again in the third inning of the contest. The Mariners added a run when Nelson Cruz hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Mitch Haniger to score. The A’s posted a run when Ryan Healy doubled to left driving Jed Lowrie home from third base. After four innings, Oakland held a 4-2 lead.

The Mariners gave the A’s a scare in the top of the eighth inning. Cano led off with a single. After a pitching change, Nelson Cruz drew a walk off of Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks. Taylor Motter grounded into a double play but Cano moved up to third on the play. Kyle Seager was brought in as a pinch-hitter and hit a towering fly ball to center field that grazed the wall and fell in for a triple. Cano came home from third to score the third and final run for the M’s.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Ryan Madson picked up the save for the A’s on Saturday Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics tapped Ryan Madson to come out of the bullpen to closeout the eighth inning which he did by getting Guillermo Heredia to ground out four to three.

Madson returned in the top of the ninth to close the came game out for Oakland and preserve the 4-3 win.

On the hill

Athletics

  • Starter Jharel Cotton (2-2, 4.76) picked up the win going 6.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on six hits. Cotton struck out two and walked two. He still had a tough day. After the game, A’s manager Bob Melvin said that Cotton was not able to get into his regular rhythm. Melvin said it was a growth opportunity for Cotton who pushed through the difficulties.
  • Ryan Madson earned his first save of the season going 1.1-innings allowing just no runs on one hit. He struck out three and walked none.
  • Daniel Coulombe and Liam Hendriks also appeared in relief for Oakland.

Seattle

  • Ariel Miranda started the game for M’s and took the loss. His record is now 1-2 on the season. Miranda went just 3.0-innings giving up four runs (all earned) on seven hits. He struck out three and walked none, but Miranda gave up two home runs.
  • Chase De Jong worked four innings of relief allowing no runs on just one hit. He struck out two and walked two.
  • Edwin Diaz closed out the game for the M’s tossing one inning of scoreless baseball

In the Batter’s Box

A’s

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
Ryan Healy hits a two-run home run Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Ryan Healy was the man with the bat for the Athletics on Saturday. He went 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Healy hit his third home run, his fifth double and upped his RBI total to nine.
  • Jed Lowrie also had a big day for the A’s. He went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs on Saturday.
  • Adam Rosales hit his second home run of the young season.

M’s

  • Robinson Cano led the offense for Seattle with a 3-for-4 day at the plate scoring two of the M’s three runs.
  • Jarrod Dyson had a two for five day in the batter’s box. Dyson had one stolen base and one caught stealing.

Looking ahead to Sunday

Seattle (7-12) and Oakland (10-8) will meet in the fourth and final game of the four-game series on Sunday at 1:05 PM. RHP Yovani Gallardo (0-2, 6.19) will take the hill for the Mariners. The man who has become the “Ace of the Staff” – Andrew Triggs – will start for the Athletics. Triggs is 3-0 with an 0.00 ERA in 17.2 innings for the A’s this year.

Oakland A’s Saturday Game Wrap: A’s win a close one in St. Louis 3-2

Cards

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics ended up on the right side of a one-run game on Saturday night when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2. For a team that has been on the wrong end of so many close games this season, to win a one-run game on the road against a team that may well wind up in the playoffs has to be a confidence builder.

The game was decided in the top of the eighth inning. With Oakland (56-73) trailing 2-1 and one out, the A’s Khris Davis lined a single to center. Rookie Ryan Healy extended his major league leading hitting streak to 13 games when he hit a double to left field that moved Davis up to third.

The Cardinals (68-60) made a pitching change after Healy’s double sending reliever Matt Bowman to the showers and bringing in Seung Hwan Oh to pitch. Max Muncy hit a grounder to first baseman Brandon Moss who decided to throw home to try and throw out Davis who was attempting to score from third. Davis scored and Muncy was safe on a fielder’s choice while Healy moved up to third. It was one of those “hero or goat” decisions that did not go the way Moss wanted it to go.

Brett Eibner was the next A’s batter and he hit a fly ball to shallow center field. When the ball was caught, Healy was on the third base bag and he took off for home. The throw home bounced away from catcher Yadier Molina and Healy scored what would turn out to be the winning run of the game.

The series is tied at 1-1 with the rubber game of the match to be played on Sunday.

On the Bump

RHP Zach Neal made his fourth start of the year for the A’s on Saturday. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6.0 innings of work. He struck out six hitters and walked none. He did give up a home run Randal Grichuk. Neal threw 91 pitches (61 strikes) while facing 24 Cardinal batters. Despite his strong outing, Neal did figure into the decision.

LHP reliever Daniel Coulombe took over for Oakland in the bottom of the seventh inning. Coulombe worked 1.1 innings allowing no runs, no hits and no walks to go with three strike outs. He was the pitcher of record when the A’s took the lead in the top of the eighth inning so Coulombe picked up his second win of season.

The A’s changed pitchers with one out in the top of the eighth inning and RHP Liam Hendriks entered the game. Hendriks faced two batters and struck both out to end the inning.

The bottom of the ninth was closer time. RHP Ryan Madson set the side down in order allowing no hits and no walks while striking out one. He recorded his 26th save of the year.

The big story of the game for St. Louis was the start by RHP Alex Reyes. Mike Leake was scheduled to pitch but has be diagnosed with shingles and may be on the sidelines for sometime.

Reyes – who had to deal with a 50-game suspension earlier this year – made his first start for the Cards. He pitched 4.2 innings giving up just one run (earned) on two hits while striking out four and walking four. Reyes was pulled in the top of the fifth inning primarily due to pitch count. He had thrown 89 pitches (51 strikes) and with two men on base St. Louis manager Mike Matheny decided it was time for a pitching change. Reyes did not figure into the final decision.

Right-hand reliever Matt Bowman (2-5) who was on the mound when Davis scored and was responsible for Healy because he gave up the hit to the A’s third baseman took the loss.

RHP Seung Hwan Oh who gave up the sacrifice fly to Eibner was charged with his third blown save of the season.

In the Batter’s Box

The A’s scored their three runs on just four hits. They also took advantage of the four walks that were issued to them.

The spotlight has to be on Ryon Healy extending his hitting streak to 13 games. His batting average now stands at .281 with 39 hits including eight doubles and six home runs in 139 at bats. Remember this is from a young man who played his first 36 games of the season at Double-A Midland in the Texas League.

Khris Davis had a timely hit in the top of the eighth inning and scored the tying run for the A’s. He picked up his 83rd RBI of the year when he walked in the top of the fifth inning and forced catcher Bruce Maxwell home to score the A’s first run of the game.

The A’s do not win the game if Brett Eibner does not do his job and put wood on the ball that would become the sacrifice fly – RBI in the eighth inning that would win the game for Oakland.

Cardinals leadoff man Greg Garcia did his best going 2-for-4 and scoring a run on Saturday night. Garcia hit his eighth double of year off Zach Neal.

Center fielder Randal Grichuk also had a big game for St. Louis. Grichuck hit his 18th home run of the season in the second inning off Neal. He went 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored and a RBI (47).

Up Next

The A’s and Cardinals close out the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 11:15 AM PDT. RHP Andrew Triggs (0-1, 4.38) will start for the A’s and will face the Cardinals LHP Jamie Garcia (10-9, 4.37) who is looking his 11th win of the season.