After seventh blown save, A's stand by Cook

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After seventh blown save, A's stand by Cook

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's bullpen was masterful over six innings of relief on Saturday until the ninth inning when Ryan Cook threw a 1-1 change-up that caught too much of the plate. David Cooper clubbed the ball for a game-tying homer. The end result was Cook's American League-worst seventh blown save. Cook has now blown a save in each of the last two games. The A's All-Star closer was pitching on his third consecutive day. He has allowed 12 runs in nine and one-third innings when pitching on no rest. "If you're asking if last night had anything to do with today, zero percent," Cook said. "I made a bad pitch and I paid for it."Cook says he feels great physically and that he isn't off in anyway. As a rookie closer in a pennant race he will have to learn to put it all behind him and move on."I don't really know what to tell you, it's one of those things you've got to keep pitching," he said. "I just need to be better at it."A's manager Bob Melvin had a quick hook with Grant Balfour, demoting him when he struggled early on in the season. He was replaced as closer by Brian Fuentes who was replaced by Cook. The skipper appears to be sticking with Cook for now. "We're talking about a young kid that hasn't been in this role before and hasn't relieved too long," Melvin said. "There's going to be some times where you are going to struggle some. He's got to fight his way through it."
Cook was spectacular earlier in the season en route to seizing the closer role. Lately he has left the door ajar. He has allowed six runs in his last six appearances. In 36 appearances pitching on one or more days of rest, he has allowed just one run -- good for a 0.24 ERA. If the A's eventually decide to make a change at closer they could consider going back to Balfour, who has not allowed a run in his last 13 games. New reliever Pat Neshek was serving as a closer in Triple-A before being acquired by the A's but he is likely better served as a situational reliever. Or there is always the dreaded closer by committee option.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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USATSI

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

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Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.

UP NEXT

Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.