Alburquerque's kiss catches A's attention

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Alburquerque's kiss catches A's attention

DETROIT -- The Oakland A's have lost the first two games of the American League Division Series, but don't believe their 2012 season has been given the kiss of death yet. It was a smooch of a different kind that caught some attention in the clubhouse after the A's 5-4 walk-off loss to the Tigers. In the ninth inning, Oakland was rallying on reliever Phil Coke. The Tigers responded by bringing in pitcher Al Alburquerque to face Yoenis Cespedes with runners on the corners and two outs. Cespedes had already driven in a run, scored a run and stolen two bases. With a 1-1 count, Cespedes hit a come-backer up the middle that was snagged by Alburquerque. After catching the ball he looked toward Cespedes, pulled it out of his glove, kissed it, and threw it to first base to record the final out of the inning.
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In a game of tradition-like baseball, acts like that don't go over too well. The move was met with mixed reaction in the A's clubhouse. "It did get under my skin. It was very unprofessional," Josh Reddick said. "I didn't appreciate that one bit." A couple other A's players chose not to comment on what Alburquerque did. Some said they didn't even see it. Cespedes noticed. "It's okay, it's not a problem for me," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "When we get to Oakland, I'll hit the ball hard against him and I can kiss my bat."Alburquerque told ESPN Deportes reporter Enrique Rojas that he was just caught up in the moment and didn't mean to offend Cespedes or Oakland. At this level, he should know doing something like that might rub some people the wrong way. The A's are now facing elimination, but the final three games of the series are in Oakland. They certainly won't be lacking motivation to beat the Tigers when they get back home, but if they are looking for a little extra fire, they certainly got it from Alburquerque.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP