by David Zizmor
By Jerry Feitelberg
The A’s, just a game behind the Rangers, opened a three game series with the Division leaders starting on Labor Day. This is going to be a huge series. The A’s will need to win two out three to be even with Texas for the division lead. The last thing either team wants to be is a Wild Card Entry. The Rangers found that out last year when they lost a one game playoff to the Orioles and were eliminated.
The 23,495 people who were here in attendance were not disappointed as the A’s beat the Rangers 4-2 and the A’s moved into a first place tie with the Rangers. Dan Straily started for the A’s and went five innings getting credit for his eighth win of the year. The Rangers’ starter, Derek Holland, took the loss. Both teams now have an identical record of 79-58 with 25 games left in the season.
The A’s took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run for his 21st home run of the year. Alberto Callaspo doubled and scored on a single by Chris Young. The Rangers tied the game in the top of the fifth. Straily walked Mitch Moreland to start the inning and Moreland scored when David Murphy homered to tie the score.
The A’s came back to take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. Michael Choice reached first on a throwing error by Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre. Coco Crisp followed with a home run that barely made it over the left field wall and the umpires called it a home run but decided to review the play. After a minute or two, the umps came back and ruled in the A’s favor. A’s now lead 4-2.
There was no more scoring. Bob Melvin used four relievers to close out the Rangers. The Rangers did threaten a couple of times. Dan Otero worked out of a jam in the sixth and Grant Balfour had men on second and third with two outs in the ninth. Balfour got Beltre to ground out to end the game and earn his 36th save of the year.
Game notes- The A’s have won four straight and seven of the last eight and are in first place since August 9th. Dan Straily is 3-1 with in ERA of 2.63 during day games. Strailly when asked after the game if there was any extra pressure on him for this game replied “Not really, but you understand the magnitude of the situation.” Coco Crisp hit his 17th home run of the year which is a career high. Crisp has homered 7 times in his last 12 games. Crisp left the game with when he hit a foul ball off his right shin. Bob Melvin said “it is a right shin contusion and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.” Michael Choice made his Major League debut and walked his first time up and reached on an error. Melvin said Choice reaching on the error”was a huge play in the game.” Melvin used Brett Anderson in relief. Melvin said that he would keep him there for a while as the starting rotation is ok. Grant Balfour picked up his 36th save of the year but it was not easy. However, Balfour worked out the jam and Melvin commented that “Balfour had to find a little extra will and would have to make a pitch and get out of the game.”
Game two of the three game series will be Tuesday night at the Coliseum. Game time will be 7pm.
Bartolo Colon(14-5) will start for the A’s and the Rangers’ will send lefty Martin Perez(8-3) to the mound.
Game time 2 hours and 28 minutes.
By Elliot Alagueuzian
CARSON, CA–The San Jose Earthquake’s playoffs took a big hit in Southern California when the LA Galaxy ran away with a 3-0 scoreline at full time in the second edition of the California Clasico this season.
Landon Donovan opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Robbie Keane sent a long ball over the San Jose defense and Donovan went around Jon Busch to score. It was a lightning pace counter attack that San Jose was struggling to deal with.
Robbie Keane scored a penalty that came in the 43rd minute when Gyasi Zardes was tackled by Steven Beitashour however, replays showed there was minimal contact. In the 67th minute Keane made it 3-0 to the Galaxy when Sean Franklin headed the ball back and Keane volleyed a great shot into the back of the net.
With 10 minutes gone in the first half San Jose had the best chance when the ball fell to Wondolowski off a corner kick but he hit the ball straight to Jaime Penedo. About a minute later Steven Lenhart hit a half volley wide of the far post from 22 yards out.
Both teams enjoyed good spells of possession after 15 minutes. Although LA controlled the most of that possesion the Earthquakes created the better chances.
A golden chance to score fell for Robbie Keane when a long ball by Juninho missed all of the San Jose defenders and Keane was through on goal but his shot was well wide of the post and didn’t trouble Jon Busch.
The Quakes will return home to face the Philadelphia Union next week in Santa Clara.
By David Zizmor
SANTA CLARA–Saturday was cut down day at the 49ers and that signals an end of the preseason and there were not a lot of big surprises. You’re certainly not going to see any huge names on the list but the only name I suppose is semi surprising is safety Brian Jennings, he has been the 49ers long snapper for 13 seasons and he’s tied for the most consecutive games played by any 49er player in their team history.
It’s a shame to lose him he’s been an excellent long snapper for this team he made the Pro Bowl a couple of times, he’s the last player on the 49ers who was drafted by the late former head coach Bill Walsh. That certainly is a distinction to take with Jennings as he moves forward if he continues to play or if he decides to retire. Jennings has been a fantastic player for this 49ers team it’ll be a shame to see him go.
The main reason Jennings was cut was simply a salary consideration. As a 13 year veteran he’s been in the middle part of salaries he’s been getting about $1.5 million a year in that range. The Niners didn’t necessarily mind paying that but for a long snapper that’s quiet a bit of money, especially when he doesn’t play anywhere else. Jennings is like a deep backup on the offensive line. He doesn’t see much action other than long snapping on punting and field goal tries.
He’s not the most versatile player at this stage of his career and when they got a new guy an undrafted free agent who was also a very good long snapper the 49ers decided it would be time to move onto a new player in that position and all the while they appreciated all that Jennings has contributed to this team the salary considerations were something the Niners had to consider for that position. It’s very sad to see Jennings go, he’s certainly good enough that he could sign on somewhere else, the salary issue is going to be a problem no matter where he goes just because he’s played so long.
The 49ers wish him well and he has the ability to catch on somewhere for a team that needs a good long snapper, someone who can be a mentor to younger players in terms of not only how to be a long snapper but also how to be a professional and how to carry yourself on a team. Jennings fans wish him well and the best in his future endeavors.
Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins cut: It’s not super surprising Austin Collie was cut he was the wide receiver who for most of his career played for the Indianopolis Colts but suffered several concussions and had a knee injury last year and did not play at all. Collie certainly had some talent. The 49ers decided they had several other wide receivers who are in better condition and in better shape who can contribute right away.
Collie didn’t have much of an impact during the pre season so that’s why he was let go, he could come back if nobody else decides to sign him and the Niners feel the need to add someone but he didn’t really contribute enough to warrant making the team.
A bigger surprise was Lavelle Hawkins he was the former Cal receiver who actually had a very good preseason and had that great touchdown reception in the game on Thursday in San Diego. He had that kick off return for a touchdown two weeks ago he also had several bone headed penalties which weighed against him. Hawkins is someone the Niners could look to if they decide to add another receiver down the road.
Hawkins is good enough to catch on with some other team so, I don’t know if he’s going to sit out there for the 49ers to grab whatever they want. He certainly made an impression and he’s someone the 49ers should consider in the future if they need more help at wide receiver. Those penalties really hurt Hawkins in the end, he was a borderline case while he certainly had the talent, the mental aspect probably knocked him back a couple of notches.
David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio
By Jeremy Kahn
PHOENIX-Eric Chavez played against the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series for the Oakland A’s, but he is now playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks and he continues to be a pest for the Orange and Black.
Chavez hit a walk-off single off of Sandy Rosario in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 4-3 before a crowd of 36,091 at Chase Field.
“It was a fastball away. I’d never faced that guy before, so I didn’t know what he had. I was just looking for a strike,” said Chavez.
In his career versus the Giants, Chavez is now 43-for-174, a .247 clip over his 15-year career with the A’s, New York Yankees and now the Diamondbacks.
“This has kind of been the only time I haven’t swung the bat good the whole year, but I feel fine. I just haven’t been getting any hits. So that was a nice one to get,” said Chavez.
Willie Bloomquist led off the ninth inning with a single, and then after an Adam Eaton sacrifice bunt advanced Bloomquist to second base, Paul Goldschmidt was walked intentionally to bring Chavez to the plate and he took a Rosario offering to the opposite field to win the game.
It was the 12th walk-off win of the season for the Diamondbacks and the first walk-off for Chavez since June 4, 2007 against the Boston Red Sox, when he hit a home run in the bottom of the 11th inning off of Kyle Snyder and made a winner out of current Giants reliever Santiago Casilla (according to Retrosheet).
After being tamed by former Oakland A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill for six innings, the San Francisco Giants finally got to the right-hander in the top of the seventh inning.
Cahill pitched 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out three.
Gregor Blanco led off the top of the seventh inning with his second home run of the season to get the Giants their first run since Angel Pagan scored in the top of the first inning of Friday night’s 1-0 victory.
After a Roger Kieschnick strike out, Pagan singled and then scored the second run of the inning on a triple by Marco Scutaro.
Brandon Belt struck out for the second out of the inning, and then the Giants tied up the game on a single by Buster Posey off of Josh Collmenter.
Hunter Pence then singled for his third hit of the game that advanced Posey to third, but the two were stranded, as Pablo Sandoval grounded out to Collmenter to end the inning.
Pagan came up huge in the field in the bottom of the seventh inning, as he made a diving catch off a sinking liner off the bat of Montero.
“Did a great job again, he’s excited to be back,” said Bruce Bochy.
Miguel Montero got the Diamondbacks on the board after he singled to right field in the bottom of the fourth inning, to score Martin Prado, who doubled to leadoff the inning.
Following the Montero single, Gerardo Parra hit a sacrifice fly to Pence in right field that scored Aaron Hill, who singled following Prado.
After a sacrifice bunt by Cahill, that advanced Montero to second base, Willie Bloomquist drove in the third run of the frame to score Montero, but after attempting to stretch the single into a double, Bloomquist was tagged out by Brandon Belt after a great throw by Pagan in centerfield.
Ryan Vogelsong saw his scoreless inning end at 15, as he allowed those three runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning.
In all, Vogelsong went six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, while walking two and striking out one.
This was the seventh consecutive start that Vogelsong held his opponent to three runs-or less.
“Felt pretty good, I was not as sharp as I was on Sunday,” said Vogelsong.
Vogelsong did pickup his second hit of the season in the top of the fifth inning with a single, but was stranded at third base.
Like in the fifth inning, when Vogelsong was stranded at third base, it happened again in the top of the sixth inning, as Hunter Pence was stranded just 90 feet away from home plate.
Pence advanced to second on a wild pitch after singling with one out, went to third on a Pablo Sandoval ground out to first base and then Brandon Crawford struck out swinging to end the inning.
Things could have gotten a lot worse for the Giants in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out.
Aaron Hill walked, then Montero singled and then Parra singled to load up the bases against Vogelsong.
Cahill hit a sharp hit ball to Crawford at shortstop, and he threw to plate, where Buster Posey just barely got to home plate ahead of the sliding Hill for the second out of the inning.
Bloomquist then grounded out to Vogelsong for the final out of the inning, and escape the jam.
There was a scary moment for Bochy in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Montero lost control of his bat and flew towards the Giants dugout.
“The net saved me,” said Bochy.
Not did it get a chuckle from the Giants dugout, but Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was shown on the television getting a good laugh.
“My guys did too,” said Bochy.
NOTES: Yusmeiro Petit will take the ball in the series finale against his former team, while 13-game winner Patrick Corbin will head to the mound for the Diamondbacks.
With the loss, the Giants drop 2-3 on their three-city, 10-day road trip, thru Colorado, Arizona and San Diego.
The Giants are now 26-40 (.393) away from AT&T Park with 15 games remaining, the fifth-lowest winning percentage in the National League.
Tony Abreu will be activated back to the roster on Sunday, as major league teams can increase their rosters for the final month of the season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau in Friday night’s 1-0 victory, this was the first time in 21 years that the Giants won a game where they scored their only run in the top of the first inning.
On their last two occasions, both wins came against the Atlanta Braves (August 7, 1991 and September 30, 1992).
DOWN ON THE FARM: Infielder Christian Arroyo, the first-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, was named the Arizona Rookie League MVP.
In 45 games with the AZL Giants, Arroyo batted .326 going 60-184 at the plate with 25 extra base hits and 45 runs scored.
Arroyo was not the only player to be named to the AZL All-Star team, as Giants second round pick infielder Ryder Jones and left-handed pitcher Luis Ysla and AZL Giants manager Nestor Rojas was named Field Staff All-Star of the Year.
By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar
OAKLAND, CA—“Pay attention to the cracked streets and the broken homes… some call it slums some call it nice. I want to take you through a wasteland I like to call my home… Welcome to Paradise.” Well, it may not be the most modern or high-tech stadium in the world, but many still call the O.Co home. Sure, our sewers back up on occasion, and we’ve tarped off the third deck, but hey, to A’s fans, this place is our own personal paradise. In front of a 35,067 sell-out crowd on Saturday evening, rookie Sonny Gray (2-2) with a little offensive help from Coco Crisp (3-4; 2 1B, HR), reminded us of just that. The crowds may have flocked to the coliseum to see Bay Area natives and Academy Award winning Green Day on their themed fireworks night, but they were treated to quite the show and reminded of the true passion this team exudes.
In their final game of August, the Oakland Athletics (77-58) and Tampa Bay Rays (75-59) engaged in a pitchers’ duel that saw a total of 2 runs scored on 12 hits. Sonny Gray had another spectacular outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings, only giving up five hits and striking out seven. After a tough outing his last time out in Baltimore, Gray returned to form and handed the Rays their sixth loss in seven days with a 2-0 dominating pitching performance. Gray appeared to be in control of every pitch and knew exactly where to place it. He started out strong to start the game as he struck out five batters in the first two innings. A’s manager Bob Melvin was impressed with his rookie starter. When asked about his performance, Melvin said he was “Great again, in a game like that, both guys are pitching pretty well and runs might be tough to come by and that was the case. And we got just enough and boy he did his job.”
Rays starter Alex Cobb was equally as impressive. Pitching a complete game loss, Cobb only gave up five hits, striking out seven in the process. Melvin knew what he was up against before the game even started, “Cobb has been tough on us. We did well then he started to settle down on us. He pitches backwards. He’ll get ahead of you and it’s hard to think ahead of him. He’s a tough guy to face.”
It wasn’t until the 6th inning that the A’s were able to solve Cobb. After a leadoff triple by Stephen Vogt, Coco Crisp singled up the middle for the first run of the game. Coco added another run to the tally when he homered off Cobb in the 8th to bring the lead to 2-0. Grant Balfour came in to pitch in the ninth, and made things a little interesting. The Rays tried to make a ball game when after a Myers double and walk off of Grant Balfour in the ninth, Desmond Jennings hit a single to center field that scored Myers but Balfour was able to calm down and get pinch hitting Kelly Johnson to ground out to first to end the game.
The A’s are feeling good after tonight’s win, Gray can feel the energy changing, “I feel like we’re playing great all around. Great defense, great hitting, this is a fun locker room to be in right now”.
Oakland looks to keep the good vibes going when they finish off the three game series with the Rays tomorrow afternoon before facing AL West leading Texas in a three game series starting Monday.
By Jeremy Kahn
August 29, 2013
What a decision the brain trust of Mark Davis, Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen is dealing with, as the regular season is a week away.
That decision is who to start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders against the Indianapolis Colts on September 8 at Lucas Oil Field.
In his final tuneup of the preseason, Terrelle Pryor struggled, as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Raiders 22-6 at CenturyLink Field.
Pryor went 3-for-8 for just 31 yards passing, as the Raiders ended the preseason with a record of 1-3.
Matt Flynn, who is in competition for the starting job at quarterback did not even play in the preseason finale.
Rashad Jennings led the Raiders in rushing on the night, as he carried the ball six times for 53 yards.
Despite completing just three passes on the evening, Pryor did find Rod Streater for two separate 14 yard completions.
Justin Medlock accounted for all the scoring for the Raiders, as he kicked two field goals on the evening.
Tarvaris Jackson is making a great case to be the backup behind Russell Wilson for the Seahawks, as he went 12-for-17 for 119 yards
By Elliot Alagueuzian
August 28, 2013
The San Jose Eathquake’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League are all but over after losing 1-0 to Heredia in Guatemala City. The Quakes are now left with 0 points out of two games away from home.
Fortunately the final two games will be at Buck Shaw stadium but even maximum points from those games may not be enough to save the men in black. A substantial goal difference may be the Quakes best to salvage whatever they can from this Champions league campaign. In other words they must blow out Montreal and Heredia at home in order to give them a chance of progressing through the group stage.
The Quakes first real chance of the game fell to Chris Wondolowski who skied a cross coming from the near post over the bar from about 8 to 10 yards out. Ramiro Corrales then hit a freekick from about 30 yards out the just grazed the top of the crossbar and that was about as close as the Quakes got to scoring a goal in the second half.
Enrique Miranda from Heredia though broke the deadlock in the 68th minute with a right footed shot outside the penalty area. It was one of two shots on goal that Heredia had and the Quakes only had one.
With having already traveled to Dallas and now Guatemala City the Quakes will now head off to SoCal to face arch rivals LA Galaxy in the California Clasico this Saturday at the StubHub Center.
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.
By Jeremy Kahn
August 30, 2013
PHOENIX-Tim Lincecum is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, but if he pitches the rest of the way like his two last starts, he should be wearing Orange and Black next season.
Lincecum went seven innings, allowing zero runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out two on his way to his second consecutive win and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 before a crowd of 24,380 at Chase Field.
“Best I have had felt out there in a while,” said Lincecum, who threw 99 pitches on the evening.
The win was also special for Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan, who made his return to a major league diamond for the first time since May 25, when hit a walk-off two-run inside-the-park home run at AT&T Park against the Colorado Rockies.
In his first major league at-bat in 82 games, Pagan hit a double off of Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado and then scored the only Giants run that they would need, as Brandon Belt hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Pagan from third base in the top of the first inning.
“I was going, I was going to challenge (A.J. Pollock),” said Pagan.
Despite taking the loss, Delgado pitched an admirable game, as he went seven innings, allowing one runs on just three hits, walking two and striking out three; however he saw his record fall to 4-5 on the season.
Paul Goldschmidt, who entered the game with a .529 clip in his career versus Lincecum was retired in his first at-bats, but finally got to Lincecum, as he hit a single in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Following the Goldschmidt single, Martin Prado hit a single that sent Goldschmidt and immediately following the Prado single, Aaron Hill walked to load the bases.
After going 1-for-3 on the night, Goldschmidt is still hitting at .an .500 clip, as he is now 10-for-20 in his career versus the two-time Cy Young Award Winner.
Lincecum then struck out Miguel Montero on three consecutive pitches, and Pablo Sandoval saved the shutout, as he dove for an A.J. Pollock hit down the left field line, got up and threw to Belt for the final out of the inning.
“Ball down the line, looking at a crooked number,” said Bruce Bochy, “that was how we won the game.”
Marco Scutaro made an amazing play at second base, as Goldschmidt was running on the pitch, Scutaro was covering second and a ball hit by Prado was snared by Scutaro, who tagged second and threw to first to complete the double play.
Sandoval was forced to leave the game after being hit on the knee by a Brad Ziegler pitch in the top of the ninth inning and was replaced by Joaquin Arias at third base.
Sergio Romo came on in the bottom of the ninth inning, and shut the Diamondbacks down to pickup his 33rd save of the season.
Romo extends two different streaks at Chase Field, as he now completes 20.0-consecutive scoreless innings, tied for the second longest streak all-time by a visiting pitcher in the history of the ballpark (according to Stats LLC).
Also, Romo completed his 23rd consecutive inning of scoreless appearances at Chase Field, the longest such by any visiting pitcher at any ballpark since 1921 (according to Stats LLC).
NOTES: Ryan Vogelsong will take the ball in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon, while former Oakland A’s starter Trevor Cahill will toe the rubber for Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks.
Former Diamondbacks pitcher Yusmeiro Petit will face his former team on Sunday, while 13-game winner Patrick Corbin will head to the mound for the Diamondbacks.
To make room for Pagan, Francisco Peguero was optioned to Fresno and Andres Torres was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list after having surgery on his left Achilles.
With the victory, the Giants are now 5-10 following an off day this season, their first win after an off day since Chad Gaudin defeated the Diamondbacks on July 19 at AT&T Park.
The Giants have raised their record versus the National League West to 31-24, the best out of any team in the division.
When the game began at 6:40 (local time) it was a balmy 91 degrees outside of the ballpark, but a cool 78 degrees inside.