Two Homer Night for Cespedes Puts A’s in Line for Sweep Over Yankees

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland Athletics won their fifth-straight contest, coming from behind to beat the New York Yankees 7-4 at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. Yoenis Cespedes mashed a pair of home runs to support starter Jesse Chavez (5-3, 3.04 ERA) while Josh Donaldson’s solo shot in the seventh inning provided the game-winning run. Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save of the season to put Oakland (37-22) one win away from sweeping the Yankees.

The Yankees (29-29) scored all their runs in the bottom of the third inning with Derek Jeter lacing an run-scoring single and Jacoby Ellsbury ripping a three-run home run to right center field for a 4-0 off Chavez. Cespedes put the A’s on the board with a deep fly to center off pinstripes starter Vidal Nuno in the top of the fourth, then pounded his twelve four-bagger of reliever Matt Daley top open the sixth. Jed Lowrie and Alberto Callaspo also hit a sac fly each for the A’s to set up Donaldson’s go-ahead knock.

After Donaldson tagged Jose Ramirez (0-1, 4.50) with the loss for his team-best 16th homer of the season, the A’s picked up a pair of runs in the ninth. First came a bases loaded hit-by-pitch by Brandon Moss who played right field Wednesday for the first time since exiting Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels with an injury. Kyle Blanks added the third sacrifice fly of the night for the visitors for the 7-4 final tally.

Chavez went six innings for the green and gold, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Fernando Abad pitched a third of an inning for the A’s in relief of Chavez, but Dan Otero did the heavy lifting with 1 2/3 scoreless innings before turning the ninth inning over to Doolittle.

The A’s send Drew Pomeranz to the mound in his first start since the Angels snapped his string of solid outings. The Halos roughed Pomeranz up for five runs after the lefty allowed only two in his previous 19 innings as a starter. He draws the assignment of facing Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees marquee free-agent signing of the offseason.

New York earned the right to sign Tanaka after paying a posting fee of $20 million to the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan, the maximum in the new posting fee implemented this offseason. Under the new reals, any team that posts the highest bid is allowed to negotiate with the player, meaning the Yankees then had to outbid numerous other teams who matched the fee to sign the international sensation to a seven-year, $155 million contract. The 25-year-old is 8-1 on the season with 88 punchouts over 78.2 innings and a stellar 2.06 ERA.

Brandon Moss Homer In Extras Sparks A’s 5-2 Victory Over Yankees

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03: Brandon Moss #37 of the Oakland Athletics hits a solo home run in the 10th inning as Brian McCann #34 of the New York Yankees defends on June 3, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 03: Brandon Moss #37 of the Oakland Athletics hits a solo home run in the 10th inning as Brian McCann #34 of the New York Yankees defends on June 3, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Kahlil Najar

New York –

“That’s typical Oakland A’s baseball.”

This sentiment said by A’s reliever Sean Doolittle after the A’s defeated the Yankees 5-2 in 10 innings is something most Oakland fans are used too. The A’s always seem to find a way to squeeze out a win even in the most hostile of territories like Yankee Stadium. “The way the guys were swinging in the 10th inning, it was like they could smell the victory and found a way to get it done,” continues Doolittle. Brandon Moss belted his second homer of the game and Jed Lowrie and Kyle Blanks each earned a RBI in the top of the 10th to give the A’s the victory in extra innings.

Starting pitch Scott Kazmir went 6 1/3 and struck out 10 batters and only walked a pair of batters but didn’t last long enough to land the victory. Dan Otero (5-1) came in the ninth and only surrendered one hit and earned his fifth victory of the year. Sean Doolittle only needed 13 pitches to earn his sixth save of the year.

“I had been swinging the bat well tonight, so I knew they’d probably be careful, and it’s just one of those at-bats you’re battling, trying to get a good pitch to hit or get on base, and I ended up getting a hanging slider on a 3-2 count,” said Brandon Moss on hit night tonight. “Obviously any home run feels good, but in an extra-inning game, 2-2, it feels really good.”

After an hour long rain delay, the Yankees struck first in the bottom of the first inning when Mark Teixeira singled to right field and scored Brett Gardner who was already on second and made it 1-0 game. The A’s waited until the fifth inning to join in the scoring when Moss hit his first homer of the evening and tied the game at 1-1. The Yankees got the lead back in the sixth inning on a Teixeira  homer to left center field and made it a 2-1 game with three innings left.

Pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt hit a game tying double in the eighth off of Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances with two outs in the eighth inning to push the game into extra innings.

In the 10th, Moss hit his second homer of the night and Lowrie and Banks drove in runs to make it a 5-2 victory for the A’s.

The A’s and Yankees head back at it tomorrow when Jesse Chavez (4-3) goes up against Vidal Nuno (1-2), game time 4:05 PM PST.

Athletics Call-up for Vogt a Requirement, Reward

By Matthew Harrington

When the Oakland Athletics broke camp in March, they did so leaving behind third-string catcher Stephen Vogt. The omission of Vogt came as no surprise. It was a difficult decision, and Vogt may well have been the last player left off the roster, but he feel victim to the numbers crunch. In the offseason, General manager Billy Beane acquired left-handed hitting John Jaso to compliment righty Derek Norris. Jaso, a prototypical Athletic if ever there was one, gets on base, works well inserted in and out of the line-up and provides some sock of the bench. His arrival rendered Vogt, a lefty himself, superfluous despite any goodwill the unlikely hero earned by hitting a walk-off single in game two of the ALDS against Detroit last season. No, not even Vogt’s strong Spring campaign capped by a .364 batting average and three long balls could earn a spot over a player like Daric Barton or Sam Fuld when March turned to April and the dozens of players in big league camp were whittled down to 25 Athletics.

Fast forward to June 1st and you’ll see the name of a baseball battler penciled into the sixth spot on Bob Melvin’s line-up card in what would be a 6-3 Oakland win. Vogt, a veteran of eight minor league seasons, went 0-for-4 for the green but despite a rocky 2014 debut, the 29-year-old backstop returns to the A’s with confidence.

Certainly, Vogt’s promotion from Triple A came out of necessity. AL West-leading Oakland opens a three-game set at Yankee Stadium with question marks surrounding the health of starting right fielder Josh Reddick (hyperextended right knee) and clean-up hitter Brandon Moss (strained right calf). Vogt’s presence allows Jaso to split time at designated hitter in Moss’ stead while not surrendering the platoon advantage against right-handers (of which Oakland will see in two-of-three games in the Bronx). Vogt, a veteran with over 50 games of experience at first, catcher and left field, also provides some depth in the outfield and first base while granting Derek Norris some relief behind the dish.

The call-up, as brief or as long as it can be, also serves as the carrot on a string, the reward for Vogt’s impressive start with the River Cats. At the time of his promotion, Vogt had an impressive .364/.412/.602 line (including a .413 average against right-handers) with Sacramento, building on his 2013 Pacific Coast League All-star campaign in which he hit .324 with 13 home runs. For a baseball lifer, a nomad who has toiled away in baseball outposts like Durham, Hudson Valley and Charlotte, a taste of the Show every now and then is enough to labor away on the long bus rides for months on end.

The A’s are expected to activate reliever Ryan Cook from the disabled list, possibly as early as Tuesday, meaning a corresponding roster move must be made. Depending on the long-term outlook for Reddick, Vogt could be optioned back down to Sacramento to make room for the reliever. If he’s a casualty once again of the numbers game, he’ll at least take with him a peace of mind that his performance won’t go unnoticed. If Vogt continues to hit Pacific League pitching, the Oakland brass will almost undoubtedly beckon him back to the bright lights of the Bigs before season’s end.

Let Timmy throw smoke; Giant pitcher signs 2 yr $35 M deal

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

SAN FRANCISCO–Speculation at the end of last season was that Giants ace pitcher Tim Lincecum was going to leave the Giants and shop other markets like his hometown Seattle and sign with the Mariners. Tuesday Lincecum signed a two year deal worth $35 million that runs through the 2015 season with the Giants.

Lincecum 29 reflected about all the things he went through as a Giant and that pretty much was the deal breaker, “I’ve been one of the most fortunate pitchers in this organization just to be part of many things, it was pretty special just to be in that kind of situation today, you kind of really see what’s going on and the emotions that are tied with it, I’m trying to figure out how to handle it” said Lincecum.

Lincecum is a twice winner of the National League Cy Young Award for two years straight in 2008 and 2009, Lincecum despite his struggles from last season finished at 10-14 was well sought after by the club and wanted to stay in San Francisco he was in awe of playing with former teammates, pitcher Randy Johnson and outfielder Barry Bonds, and current star teammates Pablo “the Panda” Sandoval and Buster Posey. He said with those memories and two World’s Championships from 2010 and 2012 it was very hard to walk away from San Francisco.

2013 World Series: The St.Louis Cardinals are in Boston for game one of the World Series, Adam Wainwright (21-10) starts for St.Louis and Jon Lester gets the call for the Sox (17-9) on Wednesday night. This is the fourth time in franchise history that these two teams match up in the World Series since 1946, 1967, 2004 and here we are again.

These are two great franchises St.Louis has won 11 World Series titles only second to the New York Yankees who have won more and this will be one interesting series and I can predict that this one will go a long way six to seven games and I don’t really have any winner in this one that both teams are so evenly matched that I really don’t have a choice in this fight.

Although I worked with in the American League with the Oakland A’s in radio and the Angels in Anaheim for TV it’s just hard to pick a winner both teams can win it’s not going to be a zero-zero match there’s going to be loser and a winner but their both winners, they already have rings already people forget when you make it to the World Series you already have a ring.

Looking back on Jimmy Leyland: Leyland was a class act and I’m glad that he retired and he’s leaving the Detroit Tigers and in a way I feel for him and I watched him in his press conference the other day some reporter asked Leyland “why did your team lose?” Come on this guy has been around 50 years in baseball here’s a 22 year old kid asking why did your team lose, it’s because the other team played better it’s baseball.

So it’s getting to him, he’s 69 let him enjoy life outside the media and the game and from baseball travel and wearing the uniform each day and answering these stupid questions and he deserves it and he could be a Hall of Famer. He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, he won a bunch of pennants, he’s well regarded with over 1700 wins, he’s managed for four teams, the Pirates, the Marlins, the Rockies, and now the Tigers.

So I’m glad he retired and I wish him nothing but the best he’s a classy old school manager. I can appreciate what he does and the traveling is overrated you go out many times to a town like Cincinnati in the summer it’s 100 degrees outside there’s nothing to do you stay in your room with your shirt off and the A/C on. It’s overrated and he already had a great career I congratulate him and I exactly understand what he is saying and wish him nothing but the best in retirement.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the A’s, TV Spanish voice for Angels baseball and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio

Youngsters spoil big day at the Stadium

iBy Jeremy Kahn

NEW YORK–This was supposed to be the day that the New York Yankees honored one of their legends, but it was the San Francisco Giants youngsters that spoiled the party.

Ehire Adrianza broke up Andy Pettite’s no-hit bid and shutout with one swing of the bat in the top of the sixth, and Tony Abreu won it with a run-scoring double in the top of the eighth inning and the Giants came back to defeat the Yankees 2-1 at Yankee Stadium.

Pettite, who announced he was retiring at the end of the season, pitched into the eighth inning and was pulled after giving up a double to Pablo Sandoval and given a standing ovation by the Yankee faithful.

David Robertson gave up the eventual game-winning hit to Abreu, and was replaced by the hero of the day, Mariano Rivera.

The all-time saves leader, who announced in spring training that he would be retiring at the end of the year came out to a rousing ovation.

Rivera was treated to a 50-minute ceremony, which included a rocking chair from the Yankees and a live performance from legendary Bay Area band Metallica, who performed Rivera’s theme song, “Enter Sandman.”

Javier Lopez picked up the victory, and Sergio Romo notched his 36th save of the season in 41 opportunities.

Jeremy Kahn covers Giants baseball for Sportstalk Radio

A-Rod’s grand slam puts Yanks on top of Giants

By Pearl Allison Lo

Behind in the count with two outs , Alex Rodriguez changed the game and also passed Lou Gehrig for most grand slams with 24, as New York beat San Francisco 5-1 Friday.

Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum was lifted in favor of George Kontos after 121 pitches and the bases loaded.  Rodriguez entered the inning just 1 for his last 25 and was behind 2-1 when his hit landed with the spectators in deep right field, leading to a much needed win for his team.

It was a tie game since early on in the matchup.

The Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to make the score 1-0.

The Giants tied the game the following inning.  Brandon Crawford was issued a leadoff walk.  One out later, rookie Juan Perez doubled Crawford back to home plate to make it 1-1.

Rodriguez’s grand slam set up came in the bottom of the seventh.  Eduardo Nunez led off with a single and stole second after one out. Brendan Ryan was then hit by a pitch and a fielder’s choice left runners on first and second once again.  Ichiro Suzuki then walked to load the bases.

Sabathia was lifted in the top of the eighth after 107 pitches and issuing a leadoff single in the game that featured two former Cy Young winners .

Lincecum threw two wild pitches in addition to his two walks in his first game playing against New York

San Francisco had a one out, runners on the corners scoring opportunity in the top of the first.

The Yankees also had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the third.

Game notes: During the game, Lincecum became the first Giants pitcher with 1,500 strikeouts since  Gaylord Perry in 1971.  Both teams get right back to playing Saturday at 10:05 am with two morning games in a row.