Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia homer to beat their former teammates 6-3

Seattle Mariners pitcher Edwin Diaz works against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Seattle won 6-3. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland- The Seattle Mariners rallied in the bottom of the seventh to beat the A’s and Daniel Mengden 6-3 Tuesday night at the Coliseum. The game was the last night game of the season, and the A’s were hoping to get a win for their starter Daniel Mengden. Mengden entered the game with a streak of sixteen consecutive scoreless innings. He increased it to nineteen, but the Mariners broke through in the fourth on a two-run dinger by former A’s favorite Yonder Alonso. The Mariners sent their best pitcher, James Paxton, out to pitch. Paxton gave up a solo homer to Marcus Semien and a two-run blast to Khris Davis. Paxton would have been the losing pitcher had the M’s not rallied. Each team hit two home runs in the contest. However, the Mariners homers produced five runs while the A’s blasts netted them just three. The game summary follows below.

The A’s put one on the board in the bottom of the first when shortstop Marcus Semien led off with his ninth homer of the season to give the A’s a 1-0 advantage.

The Mariners scored two in the fourth to snap Mengden’s nineteen innings of scoreless ball. With one out, Mariners’ DH Nelson Cruz singled. The next hitter, former A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso, blasted his career-high twenty-seventh homer to give the M’s a 2-1 lead. Alonso also homered Monday night against his former team.

The A’s regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Jed Lowrie singled to start the rally. The next hitter, Khris “Khrush” Davis hit a towering fly to deep right-center field that went over the 388-foot marker and landed in the seats about twenty rows back. Mariners’ manager Scott Servais removed Paxton from the game and brought in Emilio Pagan to pitch.

The Mariners plated four runs on four hits to regain the lead. Mengden gave up a single to Yonder Alonso and then walked Mike Zunino to put two men on with no out. A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Mengden from the game. Mengden received a tremendous ovation from the fans as he exited. Ryan Dull was brought in to face another former Athletic, Danny Valencia. Valencia thanked the M’s for trading for him when he slugged his 15th dinger of the year to put his new team in the lead 5-3. The Mariners added another run before the A’s get the final out of the inning.

The Mariners’ bullpen did its job as they allowed just three hits and no runs in the last 3 and  2/3rds innings of the game. The M’s win 6-3.

Game Notes- With the two home runs, the A’s have now hit 228 for the year. The A’s are 14-5 in their last nineteen games. The A’s did not commit an error Tuesday night for the eighth straight game, a season high.

The A’s finish the home season Wednesday afternoon at 12:35 pm.  Kendall Graveman will pitch for the Green and Gold, and he will be opposed by Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez.

Time of game was two hours and forty-five minutes and 13, 513 fans were on hand to watch the A’s drop their record to 72-85.

Oakland A’s Podcast: Trade Deadline Special featuring Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com with Charlie O

10039774-mlb-oakland-athletics-at-minnesota-twins-850x560
Photo: Bruce Kluckhorn USA TODAY Sports
  • What uniform will Sonny Gray be wearing on August 1st?

  • Who will the Athletics get in return for Gray?

  • What will happen with Yonder Alonso?

  • Should Jed Lowrie and Rajai Davis have their bags packed?

  • Is Khris Davis untouchable?

  • Are the Oakland Athletics really in a true rebuilding mode?

Get the answers to these questions and more on this special edition of the Oakland A’s Podcast which will focus on the MLB trade deadline. The Athletics are definitely sellers at this point and their prize player is pitcher Sonny Gray. Many teams want him, but who will be willing to step up and pay the price the A’s are going to want for Gray?

melissa lockard
Melissa Lockard OaklandClubhouse.com & FanRagSports.com

Charlie O welcomes Melissa Lockard to the podcast to discuss all things trade deadline. Melissa is the publisher and editor of OaklandClubhouse.com and a regular contributor to FanRagSports.com on the latest news relating to the Athletics. Melissa also spends a great deal of time reporting on the A’s minor league organization, so she knows the strengths and weaknesses of the system as well as what the needs are for the future.

This podcast will not waste your time. It’s 19-minutes and 17-seconds of pure content. They jump into the questions and get to the heart of the story.

Athletics scratch out a 4-3 win over Mariners Saturday night in Seattle

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland puts it together in the top of the ninth inning

ms healy double
Healy hits game winning RBI-double

In the top of the ninth inning on Saturday night, the game between the A’s and Mariners was tied 3-3. Seattle replaced Nick Vincent with Edwin Diaz on the mound.

Rajai Davis led the inning off by legging out an infield single on a ball hit to third baseman Kyle Seager. That brought a visit from the Mariners’ pitching coach but Diaz remained in the game.

Matt Joyce went down on strikes but Davis moved up by stealing second base on the strike three pitch. Marcus Semien then flied out to left field for the second out of the inning.

Seattle then decided they did not want to pitch to All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso who had hit his 20th home run of the year earlier in the game so they intentionally walked him.

That brought A’s DH Ryon Healy to the plate. With a count of 0-2, Healy hit a line drive into right-center field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Davis scored but Alonso — who would have scored easily — by rule had to hold at third.

Jed Lowrie grounded out to first to end the inning and the A’s took a 4-3 into the bottom of the ninth.

The Athletics called in Santiago Casilla from the bullpen

Casilla induced Kyle Seager to fly out to left field for the first out and then struck out former Athletic Danny Valencia for second out of the inning.

Just when it looked like it would be an easy close for Casilla, Mitch Haniger hit a double to center field and the M’s had the tying run just 180-feet away from home plate.

After a coaching visit, Casilla was able to get Jarrod Dyson to fly out to left field for the final out of the game.

For Casilla, it was save number 15 of the season.

Chris Smith made his first MLB start for the A’s (BTW he is 36-years old)

ms smith

The A’s pitching staff is literally the walking wounded. Pitchers have moved on and off the disabled list on a regular basis. On Saturday night, the A’s had to turn to a 36-year old pitcher who had made 63 appearances in the major leagues but had never started a game.

Chris Smith made the start and even though he did not figure into the decision, Smith did the job he was asked to do by the Athletics. He worked 6.0-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on three hits. Smith struck out four Mariners and walked just one. He did allow one home run while throwing 97 pitches (55 strikes).

The A’s bullpen gave Smith the support he needed. Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla worked one-inning apiece and allowed no runs on one hit combined over those three innings. Doolittle picked up the win as he was pitcher of record in the top of the ninth when the A’s took the lead.

Top performers for the Athletics

  • Ryon Healy — had a 2-for-4 game including what proved to be the game-winning RBI-double in the top of the ninth inning. It was his 19th double of the year and his 52nd RBI. Healy also scored a run in the game.
  • Yonder Alonso — the All-Star first baseman hit his 20th home run of the season in the third inning off Seattle starter Andrew Moore. Alonso also lifted his RBI total to 43.
  • Marcus Semien — continued to show he is ready to be back on the field and be productive for the A’s. Semien hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning off Moore. He 3-for-13 in the series with three RBI.

The A’s can win the series on Sunday and move up in the Wild Card Standings

Oakland (39-49) has won two of the three games in series in Seattle with the victory on Saturday night. A win of Sunday would give a series victory to Oakland and give them their 40th win of the season. That would be a very nice way to into the All-Star Break.

The A’s are currently just 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot in the American League. In fact, no team in the AL in more than 6.5 games out of Wild Card contention. That should serve as motivation to this young A’s team.

Mariners stars at the plate

  • OF Jarrod Dyson — did everything he could to give his team a victory on Saturday night. He went 2-for-3 at the plate including a home run (5) in the fifth inning off Smith. Dyson also hit a double and upped his RBI total to 22.
  • Jean Segura — continued to be hot in the leadoff spot. He went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored. His batting average stands at .355 after the game on Saturday.

Seattle on the hill

  • Andrew Moore — struggled over his 6.0 innings on the mound. He gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out two. Moore also issued two home runs which really was his undoing.
  • James Pazos — made his 35th appearance of the season working one inning of perfect baseball from the mound striking out one Oakland hitter.
  • Nick Vincent — worked the eighth inning for the M’s giving up one hit, one walk and striking out two.
  • Edwin Diaz — worked the disastrous ninth for Seattle and was hung with the loss.

Up next

The final game of the series and the final game before the All-Star Break will played on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PDT.

The A’s will send rookie Daniel Gossett to mound to face the Mariners. He has a record of 1-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his five starts this season. The home run has been a problem for Gossett who has given up seven round-trippers in 26 innings.

Seattle will counter by sending the willey veteran King Felix Hernandez out to make the 368th start of his career. The King is 3-3 this season with a 5.04 ERA in nine starts. He had a no-decision in his last start versus the Royals when gave up five earned runs in five innings.

“Let’s play two!” The A’s and Rays split a Saturday twinbill in Tampa Bay

by Charlie O. Mallonee

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Sonny Gray worked hard but could not come up with a win for the A’s on Saturday Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays honored the memory of the great Ernie Banks today by playing two the old fashion way. The teams played a true doubleheader where fans were able to watch two games for the price of one.

There are many baseball people who believe that having more doubleheaders would be beneficial for the game because it would help to shorten the season. Angels manager Mike Scioscia likes the idea of shortening the season to 154 games with one doubleheader per month scheduled for every team. “I would trade anything to get this game more seasonal and finish in October,” said Scioscia back in 2015.

Even if Major League Baseball decided to implement a schedule that included six doubleheaders per each season, most the twinbills would not be tradition two-for-one ticket games. In today’s sports economy, MLB owners would almost certainly insist on “day-night” doubleheaders where the stadiums are cleared and tickets must be purchased for each game.

So much for the romantic idea of returning to the days of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and “Let’s play two!”.

Speaking of Mr. Cub – at the end of this story there will be an answer to a trivia question about playing two games on one day for you. How many doubleheaders did Ernie Banks play in both games of during his 19-year major league career?

Game One 

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays wore throwback uniforms in game one. Those are truly forgettable outfits. Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The Rays used game one as a “throwback game” donning uniforms from their first year in Tampa Bay for the contest. The Athletics were looking to bounce back after 13-4 crushing loss that they suffered on Friday night.

Oakland entered the game with an 8-21 road record – the second worst in the major leagues. If the A’s are to ever even their record at .500 to have a chance making a run for a Wild Card spot, they have to start winning more games on the road.

That did not happen in game one on Saturday.

The A’s had their number one starter in Sonny Gray on the mound in the opening game. Gray went 6.0-innings giving up five runs but only two were earned due to two errors committed by the Athletics. Gray actually committed one of the errors himself on an errant throw to first base. The Rays collected nine hits off Gray while he struck out 10 and walked just one batter. He did not figure into the decision.

Erasmo Ramirez started for the Rays and he also struggled in his outing. He lasted 5.1-innings allowing three runs (all earned) on 10 hits. Ramirez struck out six and walked one. It was also a no-decision game for him.

MLB: Game One-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Chad Pinder tags out Logan Morrison on a steal attempt. Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Even though they took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second, the A’s trailed the Rays 5-4 as they headed to the top of the ninth. Khris Davis led off the ninth by striking out. Yonder Alonso then hit his 11th double of the season off reliever Alex Colome. Rajai Davis came in as a Pinch-runner for Alonso. DH Ryon Healy hit a double (16) to left field that drove Davis home to tie the game at 5-5. The inning would end with the potential go ahead run in Healy stranded at third base.

Ryan Madson set the Rays down in order in the bottom of the ninth and it was on to extra innings.

Tampa Bay brought in reliever Austin Pruitt to face Oakland in the top of the 10th. He kept the A’s from scoring and the game remained tied as it went to the bottom of the 10th.

Liam Hendriks took the ball for the A’s and gave up a single to the Rays leadoff hitter – Peter Bourjos. With Evan Longoria at bat, Hendriks threw a wild pitch that moved Bourjos to second. Longoria then hit a single to left that drove Bourjos home to score the winning run. The Rays won the game 6-5.

The good news was the A’s had only 45 minutes to think about the loss because they would have been deeply distressed by some of the numbers. They committed two errors. Errors have been the bane of this team’s existence. The A’s had 16 hits to go with two walks and left 13 men of base. The loss dropped their road record to 8-22 for the year.

The good news was game two was less than hour away from first pitch.

Jaycob Brugman who was held hitless in his firs professional game on Friday night went 2-for-4 with a walk in this game. Joyce, Lowrie, Davis, Alonso and Healy also had a multi-hit games in the opener.

Game Two

MLB: Game Two-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Yonder Alonso continues to be hot with the bat Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

The bad news was the A’s lost the first game. The good news was they had the very hot Sean Manaea on the mound for game number two. The key question was would the A’s be able to provide the run support Manaea would need win the game.

Manaea was definitely up to the task. He put in a quality start working 7.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on six hits (one home run). The lefty struck out five and walked just two Rays. Manaea earned the win and his record improved to 6-3 for 2017.

Manaea also received the run support that he needed. The A’s scored their first run in the first inning and they would never trail in the game. They scored another run in the second, one in the sixth, three in seventh and one more run in the ninth inning.

MLB: Game Two-Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Ryon Healy hit his 14th home run of the year in Game 2 on Saturday Photo: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Six of the Oakland batters had a multi-hit game. Yonder Alonso went 4-for-5 with run scored and an RBI in the game. Khris Davis was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Ryon Healy went 2-for-5 hitting his 14th home run of the season to go with two runs scored. Chad Pinder had a 2-for-5 day with a home run (8). Josh Phegley also had a 2-for-5 game hitting his third home run of the season. Jaycob Brugman stayed hot as he went 2-for-3 with two RBI in game two.

The Rays scored two runs on six hits.

The A’s road record improved to 9-22. Oakland remains in last place in the American League West with a record of 27-35, 16.5 games back of Houston and two games back of fourth place Texas.

Up Next

The A’s and Rays wrap up the three day – four game series on Sunday. Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.40) will start for Oakland while Tampa Bay will counter  with Chris Archer (4-4, 3.65). The first pitch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. PDT.

Oh yes, the answer to our Ernie Banks question

Rays Banks 2
Mr. Cub will always look like this in my memories of him

Ernie Banks played in both games of 318 doubleheaders over 19-years in the major leagues. No wonder he said, “Let’s play two!”

 

A’s muscle up, club four home runs in a rout of the Nationals

AP17154834734219

By Morris Phillips

Mired in a funk, stuck in last place, and headed nowhere fast, the A’s came out swinging on Saturday.

And this time, all that swinging had the desired effect on the outcome of the game, as the A’s rolled to a 10-4 win over the Nationals that ended a rough week of six losses in seven games.

With one-third of the season in the books, the A’s have firmly established themselves among the AL’s best home run hitting clubs with 82 homers in 55 games. But hitting home runs has not translated into winning games: after Saturday’s victory, the A’s are just 23-21 when they hit at least one home run.

In fact, not hitting home runs is a truer indicator for these A’s: only once in 55 games have they won without a home run. Oakland’s 1-10 when hitting no home runs.

When you don’t catch the ball, pitch consistently, or hit for average, yeah, even the game’s most powerful act can get obscured. That just wasn’t the case on Saturday: Ryon Healy and Jed Lowrie homered in the first inning off former Athletic Tyson Ross’ younger brother, Joe Ross, and the A’s cruised past the NL East leaders.

Healy would go on to homer a second time in the seventh, and smash a pair of doubles, all part of the best all-around day of his career. Afterwards, manager Bob Melvin said the performance shows why he so bullish on his young infielder: Healy’s passionate, plenty emotional, but resilient and a authentic student of the game.

“It’s been a little bit of a tough time for him, especially defensively,” Melvin said. “But then (Healy) ends up making a great tag on what ends up being a big out at third on the replay. He’s a tough-minded kid, got a lot of ability, but still kind of new at the big league level, still developing, but boy, he can really hit.”

Healy’s feat of four extra bases in one game hadn’t been accomplished by an Oakland player since July 2009 by Matt Holliday. And he was on everything: he took advantage of hitters’ counts on three of his hits, but he also rapped reliever Jacob Turner’s 0-2, 96 mph fastball for a double in the fifth.  In the seventh, with Turner laboring through a fourth inning of relief, Healy sent his batting practice fastball careening off the center field camera platform.

“You can’t miss good pitches to hit,” Healy said.

In the seventh, Daniel Murphy doubled off Daniel Coulombe, and was initially ruled safe at third, ahead of a bang-bang tag by Healy. But the review revealed the opposite, and Murphy was ruled out, short circuiting a Nats’ rally, with them trailing by three runs at that point.

The A’s registered a season-high ten runs, one day after losing by ten to red-hot Washington. Starter Daniel Mengden benefited by Bryce Harper’s final game of suspension, and a day off for hard-hitting Anthony Rendon, which weakened the lineup of baseball’s highest-scoring team. Still, Mengden ran into trouble in the fifth, when he was lifted with a pair of runners aboard, and Adam Lind–who had connected for a three-run homer earlier–coming up.

With reliever Liam Hendricks on the mound, Lind walked to load the bases, but Michael Taylor struck out to end the inning.  Hendricks pitched the sixth as well, and picked up the win.

On Sunday, the A’s have Sonny Gray on the mound in a matchup with the Nats’ Tanner Roark at 1:05pm.

A’s win in a walk off beating the Tigers 6-5

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Here’s the 2:20 Wrap from the Coliseum on the A’s big win

A’s manager Bob Melvin was very happy to talk about the win after the game

Here are some Adam Rosales moments from the game

 

A’s mess with Texas 9-1 in a laugher to win series

Photo credit: Oakland Athletics’ Twitter (@Athletics)

By: Ana Kieu

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics concluded a three-game series against the Texas Rangers with a lopsided 9-1 victory at O.co Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.

The A’s suffered a 7-0 blowout by the Rangers in the series opener on Monday. They followed with a 4-2 win over the rival Rangers on Tuesday. Ultimately, they won the series, taking two out of three games. A’s right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn (1-1) notched the win against  Rangers left-handed pitcher Martin Perez (1-2).

Ryon Healy put the A’s on the board 1-0 with a line-drive single that scored Rajai Davis in the bottom of the first inning. Josh Phegley followed with a double, driving home Healy and Khris Davis to make it 3-0 A’s. Yonder Alonso added an RBI double to extend the A’s lead to 4-0 to end the inning on a high note.

The A’s made a questionable call in the top of the first inning, claiming Robinson Chirinos was out at first base. The Rangers challenged the call and the officials declared that Chirinos was safe.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ejected from the ballgame in the bottom of the third inning after arguing that the A’s ball was foul, but it was ruled a fair ball.

Joey Gallo ruined the A’s shutout bid with a solo home run to cut the deficit to 4-1 in the top of the fifth inning. Davis expanded the A’s lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. He hit a two-run home run and brought home Trevor Plouffe for his seventh of the season.

The runs just kept pouring in during the sixth inning. Chad Pinder scored his first home run of the season, increasing the A’s lead to 7-1. Plouffe then hit a two-run single that scored Davis and Adam Rosales for a 8-1 lead.

The A’s defeated the Rangers 9-1.

Notes
Disabled list 
John Axford (strained right shoulder)
Chris Bassitt (right UCL surgery)
Kendall Graveman (strained right shoulder)
Sonny Gray (strained right shoulder)
Daniel Mengden (right foot surgery)
Marcus Semien (fractured scaphoid bone)
Jake Smolinski (right shoulder surgery)
Joey Wendle (strained right shoulder)

Wednesday’s attendance was 14,031.

Up Next
The A’s will open up a four-game homestand against the Seattle Mariners, starting on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. PST on NSCA, RTNW.

Graveman flirts with a “no-no” as A’s beat the Rangers 6-1 in Texas

by Charlie O. Mallonee

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Kendall Graveman worked seven strong innings versus the Rangers on Saturday Photo USA Today Sports

Pitchers are supposed to need two to three starts before really being ready for the long regular season that is Major League Baseball. Someone forgot to tell that to A’s starter Kendall Graveman.

Graveman won his second game of the young season on Saturday night as the Athletics beat the Texas Rangers in Arlington 6-1. Graveman carried a no-hitter through 6.2-innings. The A’s righty lost his no-hit bid when Mike Napoli hit a sinker over the center field wall for a two-out home run. Graveman finished the inning after giving up a single to Rougned Odor – he induced Jonathon Lucroy to line out for the third out.

Graveman went 7.0-innings giving up one run (earned) on two hits. He struck out five and walked one. Graveman threw 85 pitches (58 strikes).

The Oakland bullpen did its job to perfection on Saturday night as well. Santiago Casilla came in and worked a perfect eighth inning that included one strike out. Ryan Madson took the mound in the ninth in a non-save situation and put nothing but zeros in book except for two strikeouts.

With Sonny Gray still on the sidelines, having Graveman (2-0, 2.08) perform this well in the number one spot in the rotation had to be encouraging to the Athletics coaching staff.

The A’s scored all of their runs in the final four innings of the game. They scored one in the sixth, one in the seventh, three in the eight and an one insurance run in the top of the ninth inning.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Yonder Alonso celebrates his first home run of 2017 Photo: USA Today Sports

Yonder Alonso was the man of the hour for the A’s on Saturday night. He went 2-for-4 at the plate, scored two runs and drove in two runs. He moved up to third base on Mike Napoli’s throwing error in the seventh inning and scored on Rajai Davis’ sacrifice fly. Alonso scored his second run when he hit first home run of the season in the bottom of eighth inning with Jed Lowrie on base.

Jed Lowrie continues to be on fire at the plate for the A’s. He went 3-for-4 including a double on Saturday with one RBI and one run scored. Lowrie’s batting average now stands at an impressive .381.

Rajai Davis had what may have been a breakout game for him by going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Oakland scored their six runs on 10 hits. They left seven runners on base. The A’s were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish took the loss versus the A’s Photo: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Yu Darvish (0-1, 3.65) started his second game of the season and took the loss. Darvish worked 6.0-innings and gave up one run (earned) on four hits. He struck five A’s batters and walked three. Darvish threw 91 pitches (61 strikes).

The Rangers used a total of five pitchers in the game.

Texas left two men on base and went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position. When you only have two base runners, your RISP numbers look really sad.

The rubber game of the series will be played on Sunday

Texas Manaea
Sean Manaea will take the hill for the A’s on Sunday in Texas

The A’s and Rangers will get underway at 12:05 p.m. on Sunday. Oakland’s LHP Sean Manaea (0-0, 6.00) will go up against the Rangers’ LHP Martin Perez (0-1, 4.50).

Manaea worked 6.0-innings on Tuesday night versus the Angels giving up four runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four. Manaea wound up with a no-decision in that game that A’s eventually lost.

Espinosa’s three run belt in ninth gets Halos one run win over A’s Tuesday 7-6

Los Angeles Angels’ Danny Espinosa (3) celebrates with Jefry Marte (19) after hitting a three-run home run off Oakland Athletics’ Ryan Dull during the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 4, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Matt Harrington

The Oakland Athletics dropped a 7-6 decision to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in game two of a four-game series Tuesday.

The A’s scored the first run of the game as Ryon Healy homered on a fly ball to center in the bottom of the first inning.

The Angels answered with three runs in the top of the second inning. Martin Maldonado hit a two-run single to Matt Joyce. Both Jefry Marte and Cameron Maybin scored on Maldonado’s single. Yunel Escobar followed with a single on a sharp ground ball, scoring Andrelton Simmons.

“It was unbelievable,” Matt Shoemaker told MLB.com when asked about Maldonado’s laser throw. “When he threw out Davis, I just crouched down and heard ‘Whoosh!’ That’s nice to have.”

Jed Lowrie made it a one-run game in the bottom of the second inning. He homered on a line drive to right center.

Fast forward to the top of the fifth inning when Mike Trout extended the Angels’ lead to 4-2 with an RBI triple to Khris Davis, scoring Kole Calhoun.

The A’s made it a one-run game once again in the bottom of the seventh inning. Yonder Alonso singled on a sharp ground ball to Calhoun, scoring Lowrie. The A’s then took a 6-4 lead when Rajai Davis tripled to outfielder Danny Espinosa, which was deflected by Marte. Davis, Alonso and Marcus Semien all scored on Espinosa’s throwing error.

However, the A’s lead was short-lived. In the top of the ninth inning, Espinosa homered on a fly ball to right center, scoring Marte and Andrelton Simmons. The A’s comeback fell short as the Angels took game two with a 7-6 win. Shoemaker settled for a no-decision in his first start since taking a liner to his head on Sept. 4. The 30-year-old held the A’s to two runs in five innings.

A’s left-hander Sean Manaea allowed four runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six innings.

Notes
Lowrie fell a triple short of the cycle. He’s 5-for-8 in this series. He almost got his fourth hit in the eighth inning, but Calhoun robbed him with an outstanding diving catch, covering 57 feet in 3.9 seconds.

A’s manager told MLB.com: “He (Jed Lowrie) had a great night…That last one, if it gets by him, he’s probably got himself a cycle. Calhoun made a great play, and those are the type of plays that show up in a game like that when it ends up being a one-run game.”

Up Next
Both teams face each other again in Game 3 Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on NCSA and FSW.

Angels right-hander Garrett Richards will start. Richards missed most of 2016 after being diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. However, he received an injection of his stem cells in his damaged elbow to avoid Tommy John surgery.

A’s right-hander Jharel Cotton will appear on the mound. Cotton will make his sixth career start. He went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA and .185 opponents average in five starts with the A’s last September.

Yonder Alonso will be back at first base for the A’s in 2017

by Charlie O. Mallonee

alonso-at-bat
Yonder Alonso at the plate for Oakland photo: Lincoln Journal Star.com

The Oakland Athletics and first baseman Yonder Alonso  have avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year contract. The A’s did not reveal the terms of the contract but there have been multiple reports that deal is worth $4-million. Alonso will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

Alonso was a an iron-man for the A’s in 2016 appearing in 156 games. He had a slash line of .253/.316/.367. Alonso recorded 122 hits, 34 doubles, seven home runs and 56 RBI. He struck out 74 times and reached base via base on balls 45 times.

Alonso was particularly productive at the plate with men on base. He batted .302 with men on base and six of his seven home runs came with runners on base. He went 7-for-11 with the bases loaded in 2016. The left-handed hitting  Alonso batted .257 against right-handed pitching and .227 versus lefties.

Alonso’s defense was an unanticipated bonus last season

alonso-fielding
Alonso’s fielding was a pleasant surprise in 2016

Alonso was also very productive on defense for Oakland last season. He ranked second among first baseman in the American League with a .9967 fielding percentage. That was the second best fielding percentage posted by an A’s first baseman since Mark McGwire’s .9969 in 1991.

Will Alonso’s role change in 2017?

alonso-umpire

Fangraphs is projecting that Alonso will play 100 games in 2017 for the A’s. If third baseman Matt Chapman progresses at Triple-A Nashville and his promoted to the majors, current third baseman Ryon Healy would most likely be moved to first base sending Alonso to the bench and a pinch hitting role. However, there are many “ifs” in that scenario and for now Alonso is going to be a key everyday starter for Oakland.