Anderson leads streaking A's to second straight sweep

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Anderson leads streaking A's to second straight sweep

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OAKLAND When Brett Anderson underwent Tommy John surgeryon July 14, 2011, he knew hed have a long road back to the big leagues.Its doubtful he knew how successful hed be upon returning to the top level ofcompetition in the baseball world.You always have to be confident in your abilities, Anderson said afterimproving to 3-0 in three 2012 starts in the As 6-2 win over the Red Sox. Headded a qualifier that he didnt know if he expected this level of success,though. Not only is Anderson enjoying big-league success again, hes also doing so inthe thick of a playoff race. While most major leaguers are glass-half-fulltypes when it comes to postseason chances, its hard to believe Anderson wasexpecting to pitch in important September games this season.Its been awesome, Anderson said of returning to acontending team. Youre coming out here throwing meaningful innings,meaningful games. Whoever its against, its a meaningful game because we needto win as many as possible.As manager Bob Melvin said its still too early for hisplayers to be looking at the standings, but that doesnt mean he cantappreciate what Anderson is doing under pressure.To give us three games with that type of performance and the magnitude of thegames and coming in later on in the season not just pitching games andgetting ready for next year pitching key games and doing well, its allreally impressive, Melvin said.Forgive the As skipper for his run-on sentence; hes that excited about Andersonsreturn to form. After youve been out that long, theres some things that creep into your mindgoing through the rehab, Melvin said. Anderson agrees.Theres always some days when you say Am I going to get back?, Anderson admitted.This all makes it worthwhile.Anderson has obviously moved past any mental hurdles and can now focus onregaining the control and velocity that made him one of baseballs mostpromising young pitchers in 2010. Melvin noticed that Andersons velocity wasdown a little, as did the southpaw himself.My velocity is still not quite where it was in 2009,Anderson said. But I feel good; my body feels good. Andersons body got a break from pitching early in Sundays series finale, asthe As plated runs in each of the first four innings, giving their starterextended rest in the dugout. Coco Crisp led off the game with a walk, SethSmith followed with a home run for a 2-0 lead and the As never looked back.The early lead, and subsequent insurance, allowed Anderson to pitch to contactand limit the pressure on his surgically repaired elbow.I can pound the zone and try and get early contact and keepthe pitch count down, Anderson said of what the run support allows him to do. Throughthe first five, I mixed and matched a little bit of everything. Got some groundballs, got some strikeouts. Anderson got nine ground outs and four strikeouts, to be exact, and was incruise control until the sixth inning. Thats when the Red Sox loaded the basesand scored their first run. It couldve been worse for Anderson if not forYoenis Cespedes. The Cuban slugger was held hitless, but made his presence felton defense. He threw a perfect strike to catcher Derek Norris at home platefrom deep left to cut down Scott Podsednik trying to score from second on CodyRoss RBI single.I got a little shaky there in the sixth, but Cespy made a tremendous throw,Anderson said.Melvin said a throw like that should turn heads around the league.Nothing surprises us out of him, Melvin said of his rookie outfielder. Hehas a cannon. The more he does that, teams are going to stop running on him.Josh Reddick, a fellow cannon-for-an-appendage outfielder, believes that the Asare inspiring each other during this season-high nine-game win streak.Hitting is contagious; defense is contagious, Reddick explained. If the bug keeps spreading and leads to a win Monday over Anaheim, the As will have their longest win streak since emerging victoriousin 20 straight games back in 2002. In fact, the 10th anniversary ofthat historic 20th win is Wednesday. But the As arent focused onstreaks or standings; Melvin has instilled a tunnel-vision mentality with hisplayers.We still have a month left and if were worried about thenext homestand or the next road trip, those are just distractions we dontneed, Melvin said. The message here is to prepare for the day; put all ourenergy and all our focus into that. And well add wins up a little bitlater.Melvin did admit that its often impossible to avoid looking at the standings,which inevitably will lead to playoff dreams. But for both Melvin and hisplayers, the old clich of one day at a time seems to be the mantra.You cant help but know where you are, but I think we tryto isolate on the day and I think that should be the case all the waythroughout the season, Melvin said. At the end of the day, well prepare forthe next pitcher and the next day and we need to continue to do that.

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

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A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

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NEW YORK — Rookie Matt Chapman quickly atoned for a baserunning blunder by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Oakland Athletics over the Mets 3-2 Sunday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

With the July 31 trade deadline nearing and far back in the NL wild-card race, the Mets now start a 10-game trip, and there's no telling whether veterans such as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda will remain on the team when it returns to Citi Field.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also homered for Oakland, helping Bob Melvin post his 999th victory as a big league manager. Semien connected on the sixth pitch of the game, and Davis hit his 28th home run in the fourth.

Michael Conforto hit his 19th homer of the season and fifth of the Mets' 6-4 homestand that followed the All-Star break.

Oakland led 2-1 when Chapman opened the fifth with a double and moved up on a wild pitch by Rafael Montero (1-7). But with no outs, Chapman wandered too far from third base and was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera.

After the Mets tied it on an RBI grounder by Jose Reyes, Chapman launched a drive with two outs in the seventh. Chapman showed pop in the minors, and has homered four times since making his major league debut last month, including a drive Saturday night.

The Athletics made another mistake on the bases in the ninth when Jed Lowrie tried to steal second — with pinch-runner Rajai Davis already there, resulting in an out.

Rookie Daniel Gossett (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He snagged a line drive by Curtis Granderson just above his head in the fifth, preserving Oakland's one-run lead.

Santiago Casilla, a possible trade target in the next two weeks, worked the ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances. After Wilmer Flores singled with one out, pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes hit a flyball that got fans hollering it might leave the park, but it was caught way short of the warning track.

The A's improved to 3-10 in interleague play, still the worst mark in the majors. The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes because of rain.

Despite the defeat, it was not a total loss for Montero. He was 0 for 28 at the plate in his major league career before lining a two-out single in the fifth. He broke into a big smile and the ball was thrown into the Mets dugout for safekeeping.

Montero then scampered to third when Conforto struck out on a wild pitch that bounced toward the New York bench. Granderson's bid for a tying hit was caught by the right-handed Gossett, who took off his glove, rotated his left shoulder to work out a kink, spit, tilted his hat and shook his head as he slowly walked off the mound.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Righty reliever Ryan Dull (strained knee) could rejoin the A's for the finale of the upcoming four-game series in Toronto. ... 1B Ryon Healy didn't start for the second straight game after getting hit in the head by a bad hop Friday.

Mets: Cespedes and INF Asdrubal Cabrera didn't start, with manager Terry Collins saying the veterans told him they could use a day off.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-0, 2.77 ERA) starts in Toronto vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.15). Smith made his first major league start earlier this month at age 36.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll face Padres LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35).

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.