Colon's rhythm key in A's shutout over Rangers

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Colon's rhythm key in A's shutout over Rangers

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OAKLAND -- How do you stop a team that hasn't been shutout all season long? Fastballs. Two-seam fastballs, to be exact. At 39, Bartolo Colon came one inning shy of being the third-oldest pitcher to throw a shutout for the A's. He did however throw eight shutout innings, as the A's defeated the Rangers 2-0. It was Colon's fifth win of the season, and his first in Oakland. Colon allowed five hits and only walked one batter. He has now walked one batter or fewer in nine of his last 13 starts."There is rhythm and flow to a game, and he really dictated that tonight," Melvin said. "I'm always in rhythms like that, and trying to go fast," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I feel so happy how I pitched tonight."OK, so fastballs, and speed. That was the A's recipe for success. Wednesday's game at the Oakland Coliseum was the fastest American League game this season. It was just two hours and four minutes long. "The faster that we can get back to offense and get back to swinging, it gets you into more of a rhythm," Brandon Inge said. "He did a great job. It's fun to play behind guys like that. I've seen it for many years from him. I'm glad I'm on his team now."The only trouble Colon got in came in the second inning. He loaded the based before inducing an inning-ending double play. He ended up retiring the final 11 batters he faced. Colon has won 18 games against the Rangers in his career. He couldn't have done it with out some offense though. The A's scored twice on Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis, who threw a complete game. He is now 5-2 with a 2.56 ERA while pitching in Oakland. The A's made him pay for his two biggest mistakes -- a second-inning double to Yoenis Cespedes and a fourth-inning double by Josh Reddick. Each scored. Cespedes finished the night 3-for-3, a homer shy of the cycle."Right now when people say to me I needed a home run for the cycle I know," Cespedes said through Spanish language reporter Manolo Hernandez-Douen. "During the game I am trying to make a good swing and look for good contact." Cespedes looked comfortable defensively in left field. In the third inning, he made a sliding catch to rob Josh Hamilton. He ranged all the way to the foul line, which was a far run because the A's had an overshift on against Hamilton. After making the catch, he popped up to his feet and waved his arms in celebration.
"It was amazing how far he went to get that ball," Melvin said. "I didn't realize it was on his leg for a minute...When the ball was hit I didn't think he had a chance to get there. He closed the gap pretty quickly."Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth inning for the save. He faced the heart of the Rangers lineup, striking out Hamilton swinging for the second out. He is now 5 for 7 in save opportunities. "It takes a lot of poise and guts to get through that ninth," Melvin said. "There's a little bit more pressure on you knowing that the starter pitched a good game, and you have to close it out against that lineup."Notes: Brandon Moss made his A's debut Wednesday night, going 0-for-3. He picked a few balls at first, bailing out Inge. As a result he was the recipient of a unique award."I gave him a big man hug," Inge said. "That's impressive enough for me." "He did, he tested me," Moss said. "You do your best to pick those and try to make something out of it."

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

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The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

A new team believes in Stephen Vogt.

The former A's catcher, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The A's announced the transaction shortly before their game against the White Sox.

News of the Brewers making the waiver claim was first reported by ESPN.

The Brewers were the only team to place a waiver claim on Vogt, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vogt, a clubhouse leader and one of the longest tenured A's, hit just .217 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games this season.