A's celebrate before it's back to business

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A's celebrate before it's back to business

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Bob Melvin sat in his office, marinating in cheap champagne, dessert topping and the hugs of The Team That Money Would Never Have Thought Of Buying, reminiscing about ... well, reminiscing so fast that it was hard for him to collect them in a coherent sentence when it suddenly dawned on him:Hey, we have a game tomorrow.And a pretty important one, traveling secretary Mickey Morabito added.But when asked if the players in the clubhouse who were still in full revelry would suddenly have the same epiphany and clamp their joy, assistant general manager David Forst laughed and said, Theyve played through worse than this. And someone else chimed in, "You should see them at 10:30 in the morning some days."Of course you should, and of course they have. The Oakland Athletics took the record they were expected to have had in March and turned it on its head, finishing the job that couldnt be done by beating the Texas Rangers, 4-3.INSTANT REPLAY: A's are postseason bound
The win cemented a wild-card berth for the As, but with two more games to play, they can still win the AL West outright and skip the play-in madness entirely. In short, they celebrated like madmen with regular-season work still to do, one more unintended gift of the new playoff system.But Melvin had decreed, more or less, that the players could treat Monday and Tuesday as separate items, like they have all year. They dont think about tomorrow. They think about today.And after 92 fine todays, they are still playing the cigar-sotted and alcohol-drenched hand they dealt themselves Monday night.Because of the circumstances of the new jerryrigged playoff system, it is hard to write with historical sweep of the As first postseason berth in six years when theyve still got an aquariums worth of fish still to fry. When Melvin looked up and said, Weve got a game tomorrow, he seemed half surprised and half disappointed, even though he knew all along that this was the first scenario.And though the players, staff and owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff consented cheerfully to bathe in the joy of the moment, smiling and mugging for cameras as though this were the end of the road, the road they are headed toward has not yet begun and the one theyve been traveling hasnt reached its end yet.Travis Blackley, the veteran-turned-rookie, pitches Tuesday night in what is a must-win game for the As if they wish to evade the pitfalls of the one-and-done game. Avoiding a Friday game in Baltimore is the new job, and that requires that Blackley and then A.J. Griffin handle the Rangers as Jarrod Parker did Monday night.And when we say handle, we mean in the As sense, when they dont have to resort to the bottom of the ninth or beyond to win the game.I actually thought that was how it might play out, Melvin said. Thats how we do it, right?But the As didnt allow themselves that luxury. A seventh-inning homer by Mike Napoli brought the Rangers to within the final margin, but Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour got the final nine outs without incident five strikeouts, a routine grounder, a fly ball and a warning-track shot by Josh Hamilton in the eighth that had more hope than impetus behind it.There was no scrambling from behind, no jaw-slackening heroics, no unusual deeds and no surprises . . . save perhaps Melvin getting pied himself for the first time all year.I had no idea that was coming, I swear to you, he said, remnants of the event still stuck stubbornly to his ear. I expected the Gatorade (two tubs), but the pie ... not at all.Then again, who better to get the latest one but the man who guided this baffling team through more odd moments than a normal team should reasonably be asked to endure? Manny Ramirez . . . Bartolo Colon . . . Brandon McCarthy . . . changes and trades and relocations and reassemblies all required to go from 12th place on June 11th to tied for third on October 1. In that time, theyve gone 66-33, and in doing so reacquainted the clubhouse with the smell of throwin champagne and sweat-ranked uniforms.It was a festival of happy and shocked faces, and nobody was heard saying, You guys didnt believe in us, because while that was true, the players didnt believe either, not for a long while. Even Melvin said it took until the middle of June for things to start settling in his mind that this team had something to show us.I always believe we can win, every day, he said. But this ... this ... and then he laughed again.We have a game to play tomorrow, he said, and he wasnt saying it just for effect. The As do have a game to play, and it matters just as much as this one did.

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

Injuries to Hahn, Alonso compound A's loss to Marlins

OAKLAND — Their pitching staff got banged up throughout the night, but the A’s hope the only lasting damage they absorbed Tuesday night was on the scoreboard.

In the process of an 11-9 defeat to the Miami Marlins, they lost starting pitcher Jesse Hahn to a strained triceps and first baseman Yonder Alonso to a contusion on his right hand and wrist.

The early diagnosis showed they may have dodged a bullet with Alonso — X-rays came back negative for a fracture after he was hit flush in the wrist area on a pitch from lefty Jarlin Garcia. Alonso initially walked off the field after being hit, but after a few moments re-emerged and took first base to run. He was replaced on defense in the seventh.

“I’ve had some history with my hand,” Alonso said afterward. “I broke it three or four years ago. At the time when I got hit, I felt like that was the case all over again. The pain started going away, that’s when I realized I think I’m OK.”

Alonso’s wrist and hand began to swell while he was running the bases, and he had to exit the game. The first baseman had missed the four previous games with a sore left knee, then proceeded to homer in his first at-bat Tuesday, pulling him back into a tie with Khris Davis for the team homer lead at 13. Suffering another injury in the same game could be classified as rotten timing, but Alonso came away feeling fortunate all things considered.

“I think we got very lucky,” he said. “It got me right on the wrist but a little bit on the hand as well. We’re lucky that there’s no break. You just gotta move forward.”

Manager Bob Melvin said Alonso would be a game-time decision for whether he’ll start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, but with the A’s off Thursday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they rested Alonso in an attempt to let him heal up for Friday’s road trip opener against the Yankees.

Hahn’s condition seems more ambiguous, and perhaps more troubling. He said he felt fine warming up before Tuesday’s game, but when he took the mound to warm up before the third, he experienced a drop in velocity and couldn’t figure out why.

“I experienced some tightness near my triceps and a big velocity decrease,” Hahn said. “The ball wasn’t coming out (well) at all. It was a weird feeling. I’ve dealt with elbow (problems) before. Usually for me when I have elbow pain I can feel it on my pitches, and I didn’t feel it. It was kinda weird. … It almost felt like a dead arm.”

Hahn gave up a leadoff single to Christian Yelich in the third, then was taken out of the game. Afterward, he and the training staff discussed the possibility of getting an MRI but nothing had been set in stone.

“I’m throwing the ball as hard as I can and I see 89-90 on the board,” Hahn said. “I know something’s not right. But at the same time, I’m not feeling anything. It leaves you thinking. To be in that state of mind on the mound is not good.”

Should the A’s need to fill Hahn’s rotation spot the next time through, and should they want to dip into the minor league ranks, Daniel Mengden is on the same turn with Triple-A Nashville and threw seven scoreless innings Tuesday (81 pitches). He’s on the 40-man roster. Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett also are coming off great outings for Nashville, though their turns in the rotation don’t line up as good with Hahn’s.

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins

Hahn, Alonso leave with injuries, A's drop slugfest to Marlins

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OAKLAND -- Justin Bour matched his career high with four hits including his fourth home run in five games to highlight Miami's best offensive game of the season, and the Marlins held off a late surge to beat the Oakland Athletics 11-9 on Tuesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon had three hits each on a night when every Miami player had at least one by the third inning. Three other Marlins had two hits apiece while Ichiro Suzuki added a two-run single in his return to the starting lineup.

Miami entered the day with the second-worst record in the majors having dropped 14 of 17 before getting a season-high 19 hits against Oakland in the first meeting between the two clubs since 2014.

Yonder Alonso hit his 13th home run of the season for the A's, but left with a bruised right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth. Ryon Healy and Rajai Davis also homered for Oakland.

Jose Urena (2-2) pitched five uneven innings for his first career interleague win in 10 appearances. The Miami right-hander allowed six runs over five innings, raising his ERA from 1.91 to 3.08.

Jesse Hahn (1-4) took the loss and left the game in the third inning with a triceps strain. He pitched just two innings, giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out two. He gave up a single to Christian Yelich in the third then left after a visit to the mound by the Oakland trainer.

The A's scored three times in the ninth and had the tying runner at the plate with two outs before AJ Ramos struck out Stephen Vogt.

Bour doubled as part of a three-run third, singled and scored in the fifth, homered leading off the seventh then singled again in the ninth. It was Bour's 12th home run this season and eighth in his last 12 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Marlins: Wei-Yin Chen received a platelet-rich plasma treatment before the game. The left-hander has been out since early May with arm fatigue. . RHP David Phelps was placed on the bereavement list and is expected to rejoin the team Friday. . Reliever Drew Steckenrider was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. . RHP Junichi Tazawa (rib cage inflammation) is scheduled to throw a bullpen this weekend.

Athletics: X-rays taken on Alonso's hand were negative. . LHP Sean Doolittle (shoulder strain) will throw a 25-pitch bullpen Wednesday. If all goes well, the former closer could face hitters in his next outing. . RHP Ryan Dull continues to be bothered by soreness in his right knee.

UP NEXT:
Miami right-hander Edinson Volquez (0-6) pitches the finale of this two-game series Wednesday afternoon while Oakland counters with right-hander Sonny Gray (1-1). Gray is attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2016.