Vogt, Gray lead the A’s past the Tigers in Game 2

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Justin Verlander was filthy and Sonny Gray surprised everyone with his poise and confidence, but ultimately Stephen Vogt and his inside-out, single through a drawn-in infield stole the show on Saturday night.

Vogt’s single with the bases loaded scored Yoenis Cespedes with the game’s only run in the A’s 1-0 win that evened the ALDS series with Game 3 scheduled for Detroit on Monday.

You come up bases loaded, nobody out, and that’s what you dream of,” Vogt said.  “Look for something over the plate, stay in the middle of the field, just fortunate to come through.”

Prior to his game-winning moment, Vogt looked like a lot of other frustrated hitters on Saturday.  Verlander and Gray not only dominated the proceedings to that point, they embarrassed hitters along the way, combining to strike out 20, marking the first time in Major League post-season history that both starting pitchers struck out at least nine batters and didn’t allow a run.

Verlander and Gray both scattered four singles over the length of their outings, with the Detroit starter going seven while striking out 11.  Gray went eight innings and struck out nine.

Verlander’s big outing wasn’t a surprise, but when he produced one of the best starts of his career, the fact that Gray was able to match him nearly pitch-for-pitch was.   While Verlander backed off the heat just a little and had A’s hitters guessing what pitch was coming next, Gray stuck to his fastball-curveball combo to perfection, blowing up the strike zone and using his devastating curve as his out pitch.

Remember, Verlander’s a 30-year old veteran with six All-Star appearances while Gray’s made just 10 starts at the Major League level.

“You know, Sonny did one heck of a job,” Verlander said.  “He was able to use his angst and energy for a positive and a lot of young guys it works against them.  That’s why veterans usually seem to do better in post-season pressure.  He handled himself like a veteran and it was impressive.”

Both starters allowed a pair of baserunners to reach in the fifth inning, but they turned up the pressure at that point instead of letting the pressure cook them.  With two on and one out, Gray struck out Austin Jackson and Vogt threw out Jose Iglesias attempting to steal second base.  Verlander allowed the first two runners to reach and then retired Josh Reddick and struck out Vogt and Eric Sogard.

In the A’s ninth, Cespedes and Seth Smith singled off Al Alburquerque and Reddick was intentionally walked to load the bases.  Detroit manager Jim Leyland opted for Rick Porcello—normally a starter—at that point and he allowed Vogt’s game-winning hit on a 1-1 pitch.

The A’s avoided falling behind 2-0 in the series and will need to win just one of the two games in Detroit to force a series-deciding Game 5 back in Oakland on Thursday.

Miguel Cabrera went 1 for 4 with a strikeout and Detroit leadoff man Jackson struck out in all four of his plate appearances.  The Tigers’ Don Jackson joined Cespedes and Seth Smith as the only hitters in the game to produce two hits.

On Monday, Jarrod Parker will face the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez at 1:07 EST in Detroit.

A’s late come back falls short, lose to the Mariners 7-5

By Gabe Schapiro

This Saturday afternoon contest between the Oakland Athletics (95-66) and Seattle Mariners (71-90) quickly turned into a Mariners slugfest. Oakland made it interesting late, but couldn’t quite complete the come back, losing 7-5. Jarrod Parker, who has been fantastic for much of this season, simply didn’t have his best stuff today, getting hit early and often. Parker falls to 12-8 on the year. Opposing starter Brandon Maurer wasn’t great, but he got the job done.

Parker had an easy first inning, but he consistently struggled from there. Seattle started hammering away in the second inning. Raul Ibanez, a notorious headache for the A’s, reached on a walk, and Justin Smoak followed with a home run that just got over the right field wall, giving them a 2-0 lead.

A Coco Crips sacrifice fly got one of the runs back, but the Mariners bats immediately went back to work. Nick Franklin hit a line drive into the right field corner, but the arm of Josh Reddick managed to limit the damage, throwing him out at third trying for a triple. Unfortunately there was little time to appreciate the play, as the very next hitter, Brad Miller, launched Seattle’s second home run in as many innings, recapturing a two-run lead, 3-1.

Two innings later Miller flashed his power again, this time breaking the game wide open with a no-doubt-about-it grand slam, chasing Parker from the game with Oakland down 7-1.

The A’s bullpen managed to restore some order, and stifled the Seattle offense over the final few innings. At the same time, the Oakland bats started to come alive and the Mariners pen started to stumble.

Oakland added a run in the sixth, and then in the seventh back-to-back home runs from Brandon Moss and Alberto Callaspo, Moss’s 30th on the year, brought the A’s to within just two. They loaded the bases in the eighth, but failed to come up with the big clutch hit.

The comeback attempt fizzled out from there, as Oakland went down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning.

With today’s results, it is official that the A’s will get a chance at revenge when they take on the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs, a rematch of last seasons ALDS. The dates and times are still to-be-determined.

Tomorrow marks the final day of the regular season, as the Oakland and Seattle wrap up this three game series at 1:10 PM.

Game Notes: Jared Lowrie hit his 45th double of the season, two behind Jason Giambi for the single season Oakland record… Moss is the first A’s player with 30+ home runs in a season since Reddick last season, and Jack Cust in 2008….with the A’s loss and a Red Sox win today, Boston has clinched home field advantage through the postseason. Oakland had already clinched home field for at least the ALDS.

A’s clinch home field, beat M’s 8-2

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By George Devine, Sr.

In a road game at Safeco Field, the A’s beat the Seattle Mariners, 8-2, and won home field advantage in the ALDS, beginning Friday, October 4.

The batting barrage began in the top of the first inning when Brandon Moss hit his ninth homer of the year, to right over the Safeco sign, after Coco Crisp had doubled to center and Jed Lowrie had singled to left. In the bottom of the inning, Franklin Gutierrez answered with a solo shot to left for his tenth home run of the year. Seattle’s other run came when Kendrys Morales went deep to right for his twenty-third.

In the seventh, Derek Norris hit his ninth homer of the season to right, after Josh Reddick had walked. Daric Barton reached first base on a throwing error by second baseman Nick Franklin; then Crisp doubled to left advancing Barton to third. When Josh Donaldson grounded out 5-3, Barton scored. In the following inning Chris Young walked, and Norris doubled to left scoring him. Norris then came to the plate when Barton singled to left.

The winner is Bartolo Colon (18-6; 6 ip, 3 h, 2 er, 1 w, 8 k, 2 hr) and the loser Felix Hernandez (12-10; 6 ip, 5 h, 3 er, 1 q, 6 k, 1 hr).

The two teams meet again at 1:10 p.m. PDT on Saturday, September 29 with Jarrod Parker (12-7) facing Brandon Maurer (4-8).

A’s a cinch to clinch after smashing the Twins

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With their magic number reduced to one, the A’s won’t be doing a whole lot of scoreboard watching on Sunday.
 
In fact, if the burdened Rangers lose or the A’s top Minnesota for the fourth straight day, all eyes will be on uncanny, unlikely back-to-back division winners in Oakland.  The A’s set up the comfy scenario on Saturday, by routing the Twins at the Coliseum, 9-1.
 
“Right now we got to do what we do,” Jarrod Parker said of capturing the AL West title.  “We know it’s right there.  If we handle what we do and we win games, it’s going to happen.”
 
So self assured were the A’s on Saturday that they shook off a two-hour rain delay and more clubhouse sewage issues only to smash the Twins in basically two acts—inning number one and number two.   Alberto Callaspo’s two-run shot capped Oakland’s five-run second inning and basically ended the afternoon for Minnesota starter Pedro Hernandez.  The A’s led 6-0 at that point and Parker did his part, shutting down the Twins through six innings.
 
Afterwards, the A’s watched intently in their clubhouse—as did a smattering of fans in the stadium—as the Rangers closed out the Royals in Kansas City, 3-1, to keep their divisional hopes alive.  Earlier, Cleveland also won, 4-1 over the Astros, to keep the A’s from clinching a wild card playoff berth.
 
But none of that seemed to matter to the A’s even as the attendants removed the plastic covering the lockers, if only for one more day.  Now the best case scenario would be the A’s clinching the division title while they’re on the field Sunday, if Texas loses their game that starts approximately two hours prior to the A’s game at 1:05pm.
 
“We’re going to continue to go out there and try to play our kind of baseball,” Josh Donaldson said.  “We’re going to try and win tomorrow even if (Texas losing) comes about.  I’m sure if we’re playing they’ll do something on the loudspeaker or something.”
 
Since trailing the Rangers on August 30 by three games, the A’s have won 17 of 22, the best run in the major leagues since that date.  With 92 wins under their belt, the A’s are just two short of their 2012 total of 94 with seven games yet to play.  And the Twins will be happy to see the A’s go away:  in the last two weeks, Minnesota has dropped games to the A’s by 15 runs (18-3), 11 runs (11-0) and six runs (8-2) prior to Saturday’s eight-run difference.
 
Callaspo, Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes each homered on Saturday to support the A’s 16-hit attack.  Parker picked up his 12th win of the season and Jerry Blevins pitched two scoreless innings to end it. 
 
On Sunday, the A’s have rookie Sonny Gray slated to throw the first pitch of the afternoon with Minnesota’s Cole De Vries as his opposition.

A’s bury Twins, 11-0; magic number is now 2

By George Devine, Sr.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A sellout crowd which included a thousand SRO customers packed the O.co Coliseum to see fireworks. They didn’t have to wait until the end of the game, or even until the end of the fifth inning, as the A’s exploded for an 11-0 shutout of the visiting Minnesota Twins. This win, coupled with the Texas Rangers’ loss to Kansas City, reduced to 2 the magic number for Oakland to clinch the AL Western Division, which they could do against the Twins at home in either of two remaining games in the present series.

Yoenis Cespedes hit his 25th homer of 2013 to left center field in the home second. Then Derek Norris doubled to right and scored when Josh Reddick singled towards second, coming home himself when Daric Barton singled to right. In the fourth, Norris singled to center, stole second with Alberto Callaspo batting, reached third on a throwing error by catcher Chris Herrmann and scored when Callaspo singled to left.

In the fifth, Oakland tore the Twins apart. Josh Donaldson walked,and advanced as Jed Lowrie singled to center. Norris was hit by a pitch thrown by Minnesota starter Andrew Albers, moving Donaldson to third and Lowrie to second. Chris Young reached first o n a throwing error by third baseman Eduardo Escobar which allowed Donaldson, Lowrie and Norris all to score. Callaspo singled to right, plating Young, then reached third when Reddick singled to center. With Barton at bat, reliever Ryan Pressley’s wild pitch allowed Callaspo to come home. In the next inning, the home team added two more runs as Crisp walked and then came home on Josh Donaldson’s homer to left center, his 24th of the season.

Albers takes the loss (2-4; 4.2 ip, 8 h, 8 r, 3 er, 1 w, 2 k, 1 h, 1 hb) and Bartolo Colon is the winner (17-6; 6 ip, 5 h, 1 w, 8 k). The two teams meet again at 1:05 p.m. PDT on Saturday, September 21, with Jarrod Parker (11-7) facing southpaw Pedro Hernandez (3-1).OAKLAND ATHLETICS VS. MINNESTOTA TWINS

The Angels trounce the A’s

By Jerry Feitelberg

It was just one of those nights. The Los Angeles Angels pounded the A’s 12-1. The Angels snapped the A’s five game winning streak behind C.J. Wilson’s pitching. Wilson is at the top of his game as he has now 9-0 in his last 13 starts and is 13-1 since June 14th. He won his seventeenth game of the year going seven innings allowing just one run and giving up just four hits. The Angels supported his effort as they scored twelve times and banged out fifteen hits including two monster home runs.

The A’s Jarrod Parker saw his streak of nineteen consecutive starts without a loss come to an end. Parker’s record is now 11-7. There were no bright spots for the A’s in the game. The only good news was that the Texas Rangers lost and the A’s magic number to clinch the AL West title is now at seven.

Any combination of A’s wins and/or Texas losses will give the A’s the crown for the second year in a row. The game summary follows.

Jarrod Parker got off to a rough start in the first inning. He walked the leadoff hitter on four straight balls. He retired the next two hitters but gave up a single to Josh Hamilton, a double to Mark Trumbo and a another single  to rookie Kole Calhoun that allowed the Angels to get an early 2-0 lead.

The Angels picked up an unearned run in the third inning. With one out and one on, Josh Hamilton hit a sharp line drive to Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo took his eye off the ball and it bounced into center  to put men on at first and third with one out.  The Angels scored on the next play when Mark Trumbo hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed the runner from third to score. Angels lead 3-0.

The Angels sent Parker to the showers in the top of fifth. The Angels scored three runs as Parker gave up four hits and walked a batter before Bob Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to pitch. Angels now lead 6-0 with men on at first and second with one out. Blevins retired the first batter he faced but the Angels banged out two more hits and scored two more runs before Blevins got the final out of the inning.

The Angels sent ten men to the plate and scored five runs on six hits.  Parker allowed eight runs(one unearned) as he exited the game after just 4 1/3rd inning of work.

The A’s scored a run in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson walked  Josh Donaldson with one out. That was followed by two singles and the A’s now trail 8-1.

The Angels continue to pour it on. They had two two-run home runs in the eighth to make it a 12-1 game. Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each homered in the inning. Trout’s blast was unbelievable  as it was perhaps the longest home run hit this year at the Coliseum.

Game notes- The A’s still have the second best record in the American league. They are 88-62 and still maintain a six and a half game lead of the Rangers. Sonny Gray will pitch for the A’s Tuesday night and Garrett Richard will go for the Angels. Game time is at 7pm.

Sean Doolittle has been named a finalist for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award.

Attendance was 14,621.

A’s end regular season versus Texas with sweep

September 15, 2013

By Pearl Allison Lo

With their biggest win margin of the series, Oakland engineered their first season sweep at Arlington in four years with a 4-1 finale.

The A’s magic number to clinch the American League West is now at seven games.

In this game, it was the big bats were the difference, producing four of the five runs. Josh Donaldson’s home run in the top of the first proved to be the game-
winner.

Oakland wasted no time getting runners on base as Coco Crisp and Chris Young got on
base before Jed Lowrie brought in the game’s first run with a double play. Donaldson followed suit with a home run to double the A’s lead and extend his
hitting streak to 11 games, a career-high.

Texas scored in the first inning as well, when A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out single to bring in Elvis Andrus and slice the lead back down to one.

Chris Young re-doubled Oakland’s lead when he hit a two-out home run in the top of the third.

The Rangers’ best chance came in the bottom of the sixth with runners at the corner and one out. Texas used three pinch hitters in the inning, but only Jurickson Profar was successful.

The game stayed 3-1 from the third inning until Oakland tacked on two more runs
in the top of the ninth. Brandon Moss came in to pinch-hit and was walked and
Josh Reddick brought them both to home plate with a home run. Reddick went 2-
for-4.

Tommy Milone, who filled in after the A’s hot-pitching Jarrod Parker was scratched
from the game due to illness, pitched 5 innings, while Ranger’s starter Martin
Perez pitched 6.1 innings.

Game notes: Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes was also scratched from the game due to a sore shoulder. He would have been the designated hitter. It was a franchise first for Texas to go winless in their six-game homestand. The A’s will continue
Monday with a three-game series versus the Los Angeles Angels, who they face six times in the next 10 games.

Pitchers’ duel becomes batters’ brawl; Suzuki blasts 3-run HR

By George Devine, Sr.

August 30, 2013

The Athletics began a long homestand against Tampa Bay with an atmosphere suggestive of a postseason confrontation. Just over 15,000 came to O.co Coliseum – without the Bay Bridge in operation — on a balmy (69 degree) evening to see a pitchers’ duel between LHP David Price and RHP Jarrod Parker….that is, until the fifth inning. Up to that point, the Rays had scored the game’s only run, when in the second Desmond Jennings walked, stole second and came home on Yuniel Escobar’s grounder to center field. But in the fifth, Kurt Suzuki broke it open with a three-run homer. It came after Alberto Callaspo hit one of Price’s pitches in the direction of second baseman Ben Zobrist, who committed his firsr error after 81 games. Chris Young then walked and Suzuki took Price deep.

In the eighth, after Parker had thrown 100 pitches, the first two Rays reached base. Ryan Cook came in to relieve him, and gave up a single. Matt Joyce sacrificed to score a run, then James Loney doubled past Young in center to make it 3-3 In the bottom of the frame, with Joel Peralta in relief, Coco Crisp led off with a base hit and scored on Jed Lowrie’s double to make the score 4-3 in favor of the home team.

Cook got the win (6-3) and Price the loss (8-6). Grant Balfour notched his 34th save.

The win puts Oakland a half-game ahead of the Rays in the race for the first wild card spot, and two games behind Texas in the AL West.

The A’s and Tampa Bay face off again at 6:05 p .m. on Saturday, August 31 with Sonny Gray (1-2, 3.18 ERA) opposing Alex Cobb (8-2, 2.67) on a fireworks night.

On Tuesday, September 3, Oakland Athletics’ Owner Lew Wolff and family members, as well as Hitting Coach Chili Davis, will serve meals at Oakland’s St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s dining room and tour the facility’s community center which also houses administrative staff, some limited medical care, free drop-in help for families, a free clothing closet and both culinary and transitional employee training programs.

Three generations of the Wolff family—Mr. Wolff, daughter Kari Wolff and grandson Arthur Wolff—will join Davis, a former three-time Major League All-Star and three-time World Series champion, in serving lunch to SVDP’s clients from 10:45-11:30 a.m., before taking a tour of the facility. Wolff wants his daughter and grandson to experience the lives of people who are less fortunate and understand the value and obligation of giving back to your community. Also, the Wolff family and Mr. Davis wanted to stress to everyone that St. Vincent de Paul provides meals, clothing and services to more than 4,000 people each year, and that their financial and volunteer help is sorely needed throughout the year—not only during the holiday season.

Wolff last week donated $5,000 for much-needed backpacks for St. Vincent’s children, as they begin the new school year. In addition, the A’s owner is hand-delivering 100 tickets to the Oakland-Minnesota game on Thursday, Sept. 19, with a challenge to the Bay Area community to donate at least $50 to St. Vincent de Paul in exchange for two free tickets.

The Oakland A’s and St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County have forged a long-time relationship, with the team’s front office employees preparing and serving meals at the facility’s dining the holiday season and donating funding, food and other supplies to the area’s prime community center. In addition, Athletic players, coaches and managers have donated their time in servicing SVDP’s clients during the team’s season and off-season. This marks the 75th anniversary of service provided by St. Vincent de Paul to Alameda County.

The A’s win in a walk off

By Jerry Feitelberg

August 19, 2013

PhotoThe Oakland A’s Jarrod Parker and the Seattle Mariners Aaron Harang engaged in an old-fashioned pitchers duel Monday evening in Oakland. The A’s won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Brandon Moss hit his nineteenth home run of the year to win it for the A’s by a score of 2-1.Former A’s pitcher, Harang went seven innings allowing just one one and five hits but the pitching star of the night was Parker. Parker pitched his first career complete game allowing just one on eight hits and struck out eight which was a career high for him. The game summary follows below.

The A’s took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes singled to put men on at first an second with no out. Brandon Moss flied out to deep left field. Reddick tagged up and made it to third. Josh Donaldson hit a grounder to the shortstop and reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Reddick to score.

The Mariners tied the game in the top of the seventh. Mariners’ second baseman, Nick Franklin singled to right and advanced to second when Josh Reddick couldn’t field the ball cleanly. Designated hitter,Kendrys Morales, singled to drive in Franklin with the tying run.

The game ended in the bottom of the ninth when Brandon Moss blasted a Carter Capps pitch over the centerfield wall with one out in the ninth to win the game for the A’s. Final score 2-1.

Notes – With the win, the A’s remain ½ game behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The A’s are now 7-4 in their last eleven games. It was the seventh walk-off win of the year for Oakland. Jarrod Parker remains unbeaten in his last 15 starts and his record for the season is now 9-6. Brandon Moss had two hits in the game and it was his second walk-off homer this year and fourth in his career.

Game two will be Tuesday night. Sonny Gray will pitch for Oakland and lefty Joe Saunders will take the mound for Seattle. Time of the game was played in 2 hours and nineteen minutes and Attendance was a sparse 11,112.

Parker brings the funk to Oakland

Saturday, August 03, 2013

O.Co Coliseum

By Emily Zahner

OAKLAND, CA—Saturday morning, Jarrod Parker tweeted to his fans that he would not be showering before the game today. Whether this was an act of superstition, or he just ran out of time, Parker definitely brought the funk to the mound this afternoon. Coincidentally, the A’s had a ticket promotion today, giving fans that purchased special tickets a pair of Oakland “Zubaz” pants, a funky zebra print with green and gold coloring. Whatever Parker’s reasoning might have been, it obviously worked, and Parker might not be showering before starts ever again.

In front of 28,304 Oakland faithful with some Texas red and blue sprinkled in, the A’s (64-46) defeated the Rangers (61-50) 4-2 on the back of Jarrod Parker. Parker threw 107 pitched through six innings, giving up just six hits and two earned runs. Texas newcomer Matt Garza pitched a complete game, throwing 114 pitches, surrendering eight hits and four runs, all earned. With the win this afternoon, the A’s snapped their three game losing streak, the Rangers snap their five game winning streak, and the gap between these two teams in the division increased to three and a half games.

Matt Garza, who normally performs tremendously against the A’s, was out of sorts. The A’s jumped on him quick in the first, becoming the only team to ever score a run against Garza in the first inning. After a smattering of hits by the A’s, Garza added a new pitch to his repertoire when he threw a temper tantrum after two consecutive bunts by A’s hitters in the 7th. Coco Crisp reached first on a bunt and Eric Sogard extended his hit streak to 11 games with a bunt single as well. Garza had some colorful words to say so Sogard, to which Sogard smiled and took it as being “in the heat of the moment”. A’s Manager Bob Melvin said sometimes you have to “create a little havoc… sometimes it’s the right thing to do”. Garza, from the dugout, also had some choice words to say about A’s relief pitcher Ryan Cook pausing the game to have the mound attended to. Melvin laughed, saying the mound took a beating today and he could see his pitchers struggling with it. Commenting on what needed to be attended to on the mound, Melvin explained “some pitchers are just more violent than others”.

Starting in his first game at second for the green and gold, Alberto Callaspo continued to hit the ball well. Although he has yet to put up any numbers, currently 0-for-13, Callaspo has been having great atbats and putting good wood on the ball. This afternoon, he went 0-2 with a walk and a run scored. Crisp and Brandon Moss each connected for two hits, and Yoenis Cespedes crushed his 17th homerun of the season.

Prior to today’s game, the A’s announced they had optioned LHP Tommy Milone to Sacramento, and recalled RHP Evan Scribner. Milone was told he was sent down because off upcoming off days and no need for a fifth starter; he hopes to work on location and keeping the ball down while down in AAA.

The A’s and Rangers complete their three game series tomorrow, Sunday August 4th at 1:05pm PST. Probable starters are AJ Griffin (10-7 3.90 ERA) and Derek Holland (8-6 3.18 ERA)

Game Notes:

Yoenis Cespedes hit his 17th Homerun of the season. Ian Kinsler hit his 10th, the first homerun that Parker has allowed in four games. During the game, the A’s announced the acquisition of RHP Fernando Nieve, whom their acquired from Cleveland for cash. The Venezuela native has a 9.0 ERA and a 0-1 record with 6 innings pitched. Eric Sogard extends his hit streak to 11 games.