Could Rickey's magic help A's avoid sweep?


Could Rickey's magic help A's avoid sweep?

OAKLAND -- The last time the Oakland Athletics lost more than one game in a row was during a three-game skid from August 12-15. They responded by winning 15 of their next 19 games. When a team is playing as well as the A's are, it is easy to overreact following back-to-back losses, especially when they come at the hands of division rivals. Now would be a good time to get back in the win column, salvaging the home series with the Angels and entering an off-day prior to a six-game road trip through Seattle and Anaheim with some positive vibes.
After Thursday, 17 of the final 27 games are on the road. "We aren't afraid to play on the road, we've had some success on the road," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I don't think that's something we are looking at as daunting. The schedule is the schedule, there's nothing we can do about it."To end the home stand on a winning note the A's will have to topple Dan Haren who has struggled against his former team. He is 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in his last four starts against the A's, and 0-1 with a 6.08 ERA in Oakland since being traded to the Diamondbacks prior to the 2008 season. A's roving instructor Rickey Henderson is doing everything he can to help. This morning Yoenis Cespedes got a shipment of bats and the Hall of Famer grabbed one, rubbed down the barrel, and gave it a kiss. He explained to Cespedes that the ritual he performed on the bat would put some hits in it.The A's will have ace Brandon McCarthy on the hill. He is making his 18th start of the season and the A's are 10-7 when he starts. McCarthy is one win away from tying his career-high in single season wins with nine. "He's a guy that certainly doesn't put too much pressure on himself and kind of insulates," Melvin said. "We feel great about the days that he pitches." Entering play on Wednesday the A's, Orioles, and Yankees are tied for the top spot in the American League Wild Card standings. Tampa Bay is 1.5 games behind and the Angels are scratching and clawing their way back in the picture just 3.5 back. Notes:-- Chris Iannetta who burned the A's in the first two games of this series by going 4 for 7 with one homer, one double, three RBI, and two runs is not in the lineup on Wednesday. -- After taking an Albert Pujols liner off his left shin on Tuesday night, pitcher Sean Doolittle is questionable to appear in Wednesday's game. "He's was hobbling around a bit last night," Melvin said. "He was better than we expected today." Melvin added that Doolittle was fine during the game even though he gave up two runs on three hits. He noted that with the adrenaline factor he probably didn't feel it much at the time. -- Jordan Norberto who is on the DL for the second time with a left shoulder issue is starting to feel better but isn't nearing a return yet. "We've cleared a hurdle with how his shoulder is feeling," Melvin said. "You never know until he is playing catch and he is still not there yet." Melvin said he is holding out hope that Norberto will be able to return at some point in the final month of this season.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman


Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays


Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays


OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.


Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.


Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.