ARLINGTON -- Coco Crisp took the field on Tuesday and hit in the cage, a positive development for the A's leadoff hitter and center fielder who has missed seven games with allergic conjunctivitis in his eyes. "He's better today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He sees out of his left eye pretty well. Right eye is the bigger issue right now. He took some swings in the cage today."Crisp looked better in the clubhouse. His eyes are less puffy. He took to the field on Tuesday and ran around a bit during batting practice. When a ball was hit near him he reacted and tracked the trajectory in flight. He didn't have a glove on at the time but it was clear he could see the baseballs being hit in his direction. "This is kind of the day we were targeting to get him some baseball activity," Melvin said. "Where it goes from here we're not sure yet. It's certainly more encouraging than we were potentially thinking yesterday."The A's are 62-43 with Crisp in the lineup and 24-25 when he doesn't play. With nine games left in the season the A's will have to hope he can return soon. There still has to be some concern that he will struggle with timing at the plate with this many games off. Crisp is hitting .251 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI this season. He leads the team with 35 stolen bases and is tied for fifth in the American League with seven triples. His speed is very important to the A's. In his three years with Oakland he has been successful in 89.7 percent (116 for 132) of his stolen base attempts, which is the best mark in franchise history.
NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.
Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.
“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”
Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).
“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”
With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.
Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.
“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”
The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.
Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.
After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.
NEW YORK — Dealt another dose of injury bad news Friday, the A’s got to temporarily push those thoughts aside once Sean Manaea took the mound.
The big lefty shined in his first career outing at Yankee Stadium, matching Masahiro Tanaka pitch for pitch and spinning his best start of the season in a 4-1 A’s victory.
After he walked leadoff man Brett Gardner on four pitches in the first, it conjured up memories of his five-walk outing two starts ago at Seattle. But from that point on Manaea locked in, allowing just four hits over seven innings and striking out eight. Not a single Yankee advanced past second base against him.
“He was out there chucking,” A’s left fielder Khris Davis said. “He’s got that Chris Sale stuff where people are swinging and missing in the zone. It’s great to see that.”
The day began with news that Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman and fellow starter Jesse Hahn both are likely headed to the disabled list with shoulder and triceps strains, respectively. It continues the cycle of injury woes for the A’s, who have lost every starter except Andrew Triggs to at least one stint on the 10-day DL. With two-fifths of the rotation down for an unknown period of time, Manaea takes on an even more significant role.
“For a young guy we’ve leaned on him pretty hard since he’s gotten here, but now probably a little bit more so,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Yet no matter what is unfolding elsewhere on the pitching staff, the challenge for Manaea always stems from within. He’s talked often this season about the need to be mentally tougher and more aggressive attacking the strike zone. After the leadoff walk to Gardner, Manaea (3-3) said a switch flipped inside of him.
“I was thinking that these guys weren’t gonna hit me at all, and that I just needed to throw strikes and trust the defense,” he said. “I know I can get these guys out. To me it was a big mentality switch, and just believing in myself and trusting everything.”
Tanaka, who has disappointed this season to the tune of a 6.56 ERA entering Friday, put it together against Oakland and rang up a career-high 13 strikeouts without a single walk. But Manaea was more than up to the task, keeping New York off the board until the A’s scored twice in the eighth to snap a scoreless tie off former Athletic Tyler Clippard, who relieved Tanaka to start that inning.
“He was pitching with a lot of confidence, and that’s what I love to see,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said of Manaea. “He wants the ball, wanted to keep going out there. It was awesome.”