Blevins goes hungry after Houdini-esque routine


Blevins goes hungry after Houdini-esque routine

Programming note: Coverage of Game 3 of the A's-Angels series begins tonight with A's Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California
ANAHEIM -- Jerry Blevins is a skinny guy, probably because his teammates let him go hungry. After pulling off a seemingly impossible save Tuesday night in Anaheim, Blevins could be heard hollering in the clubhouse, "Where's my pie? Where's my pie?""I was half expecting it while doing the TV," Blevins said. "It was a perfect moment for a pitcher to get a little love." In the bottom of the ninth inning with a one run lead, runners on the corners and no outs, Blevins got the call. As the 37,764 in attendance had the place shaking, and the Angels bats had the A's quaking, Blevins had a game plan. Strikeout, double play, pie. Two out of three isn't half bad. Blevins struck out Kendrys Morales on five pitches. The switch hitter went down swinging on an 85-MPH change up. Four pitches later Howie Kendrick hit a 92-MPH sinker straight to Josh Donaldson, who threw to Cliff Pennington, who turned the game-ending double play to give the A's a 6-5 victory.Blevins let out a primordial scream as the A's dugout emptied in celebration. It was easily the biggest moment in Blevins playing career, one he said was better than his Major League debut. "I felt like pure elation," Blevins said. "It was one of the loudest screams I've ever given on a the baseball field." Morales is a switch hitter so the A's were comfortable turning him around with the left-handed Blevins on the mound. Kendrick is a right-handed hitter but was 0 for 4 in his career against Blevins. With Ryan Cook unavailable the A's clearly had a trick up their sleeve with Blevins. "Talk about Houdini," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You know he's not going to get a lefty, but we were trying to turn Morales around and hope he can make good pitches after that." The A's were in this situation in the first place because closer Grant Balfour had an uncharacteristically rough night. He entered the game with a three-run lead and walked the first two batters he faced. He was removed after back-to-back RBI singles put the Angels in position to win the game in walk-off fashion. Balfour who had converted his last 10 save opportunities prior to Tuesday, appeared to be very frustrated with the strike zone of home plate umpire Paul Schrieber. Immediately after the game Balfour went into the clubhouse and watched the video of each pitch he threw. After reviewing the tape and blowing off some steam he calmed down. "They do a great job at what they do and it is frustrating sometimes when you see it one way, they see it another and you are trying to pitch and get outs in big games like that." Balfour said. "I felt there was a couple strikes that should have been called but at the end of the day I've got to make better pitches and get out of that situation too."As soon as he left the game he became Blevins' biggest fan. The donut-loving lefty didn't disappoint. "That was awesome, coming in for a strikeout and a double play was the way to write it up," Balfour said. "I was on the top step, I am the guy cheering for him." Dan Straily, who also deserves a share of the credit for the A's 11th consecutive road win, was inside watching on TV. He said everyone in the clubhouse went crazy when the A's recorded the final two outs. Straily went six and two-thirds innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out eight batters. All of the runs he allowed scored via the long ball. The last time he faced the Angels he gave up four homers."After throwing a ton of pitches in the first couple innings I looked over my shoulder and saw the bullpen going and was making sure that I was not going to be embarrassed again," Straily said. Melvin had Tyson Ross warming up in the second inning after Straily gave up a two-run homer to Vernon Wells. From the third inning on, Straily looked like a completely different pitcher. "For him to get us all the way through for almost a full seventh that's quite the turnaround for a kid that was on the ropes," Melvin said. Straily earned his second Major League win with his dad watching. It was his father's birthday and they had breakfast before the game. Usually the offense gets all the attention. The performance of the A's hitters is easy to forget after what transpired on the mound. Yoenis Cespedes snapped out of a 21-game homerless streak with a solo homer in the first inning. Brandon Moss clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 18th of the year and sixth in the last 12 games. In the ninth inning the A's got some crucial insurance runs. Coco Crisp hit an RBI triple to right field that was misplayed by Torii Hunter. As the veteran right fielder chased after the ball, Crisp rounded third and scored. Every last bit was needed in this game. It still all boiled down to one unreal effort by a man that just wanted a little post game pie. He did get a treat though. The A's victory over the Angels puts the A's 21 games over .500 -- that's pretty sweet. His second career save, well, that can be the cherry on top.

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox


CHICAGO -- The Oakland Athletics got a glimpse of their future on a day when the Chicago White Sox paid tribute to their past.

Matt Olson hit his first two major league home runs, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also launched their first career shots and the A's routed the White Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

Barreto homered in his big league debut. He joined Olson and Brugman in becoming the second trio of teammates to hit their first homers in the same game, the Elias Sports Bureau said. It also happened in 1914 with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League - the rival circuit lasted a couple of seasons, and included many big leaguers.

"They said something about it was the first time it has happened in a while. It's awesome to be able to share that moment with guys that I already built relationships with," said Olson, who played with Brugman and Barreto in the minors.

Former White Sox ace Mark Buehrle had his No. 56 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. After the 30-minute tribute ended, the A's roughed up James Shields (1-1).

Daniel Gossett (1-2) took advantage of an early 6-0 lead for his first win in the big league. He gave up two unearned runs in six innings.

"It was a special experience for everyone. To get out of there with my first win was just the icing on the cake. It was an awesome experience to be a part of and I'm glad I was here," Gossett said.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for the second straight game. He threw his hat to the ground and was tossed, right after third baseman Todd Frazier was ejected for showing his displeasure over a replay review that wasn't reversed.

"I thought it was quick," Frazier said. "I said some things that were borderline, I guess. But at the same time, it's just frustrating, man. You can't get the call right in New York as well, and they've got every different angle. They can zoom in as close as possible, and to think that they cannot make that call is just frustrating with the technology we have today. It's just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does."

After a leadoff walk in the first, Olson homered to right. He added a two-run homer in the seventh. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday and is in fourth stint with the club.

Brugman hit a solo drive in the second. Barreto had a two-run homer in the third.

Barreto, a top prospect in the Oakland organization, was called up after shortstop Chad Pinder injured his hamstring Friday night and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Barreto was a late addition to the lineup at second base when Jed Lowrie couldn't play after a mild knee injury he sustained Friday night. The newcomer went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

"Of anybody, you're not surprised. We've seen him hit homers in his first spring training at-bats, so not a total shock. But I think everybody kind of looked around and said, `Wow, I can't remember that ever happening before,'" A's manager Bob Melvin.

Shields gave up six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He allowed three home runs in his second start since a two-month DL stint.

Buehrle's number was stenciled onto the dirt behind second base. He went 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 390 appearances for Chicago from 2000-11. The lefty pitched two no-hitters for the White Sox, including a perfect game, and helped them win the 2005 World Series.

White Sox: All signs are pointing to LHP Carlos Rodon making his season debut sometime next week. Rodon, who has been out with a biceps bursitis injury, pitched Friday night for Triple-A Charlotte. Renteria was satisfied with the reports after his fourth rehab start.

"Another start last night. He went 4 1-3, 93 pitches. Actually, in talking to everybody, he threw pretty well. Had a couple miscues in the field that were probably limited his outing. He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that. According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back," Renteria said.

Gossett said the Oakland hitters made it easy for him in his third major league start.

"To see guys I've played with a little bit last year and this year, to see Barreto get his first hit and other guys get their first home runs, it's really special for them and I'm glad I was part of it," he said.

With wins Friday and Saturday, the A's snapped a streak of losing nine consecutive road series.

Despite the rough start, Shield reached 2,000th career strikeouts.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-3) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over his last five starts.

White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-7) is 1-4 with a 9.55 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his last five starts.

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Friday night was a bad night for a couple of former A's players.

After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rangers, first baseman Chris Carter was designated for assignment by the Yankees.

New York called up first base prospect Tyler Austin.

In 57 games with the Yankees, Carter his eight homers and drove in 23 runs, but he his just .204 with 70 strikeouts.

Derek Norris, an All-Star with the A's in 2014, was designated for assignment by the Rays after they activated offseason acquisition Wilson Ramos from the 60-day DL.

Norris clubbed nine homers and drove in 24 runs, but hit .201 in 53 games with the Tampa Bay.