The A's defy odds and do it again, defeat Yanks 2-1


The A's defy odds and do it again, defeat Yanks 2-1


OAKLAND -- Three well traveled rookies and a wily veteran helped topple the best team in baseball 2-1 on Saturday night at the Oakland Coliseum. Each of those four players' stories are so unlikely that you'd think we made them up. We'll start where it ended on Saturday night. With 25-year-old rookie reliever Sean Doolittle -- who notched his first career save. Doolittle was drafted as a first baseman, struggled with injuries and was converted to a pitcher. Nearly as quick as his 95-mph fastball rips through the strike zone, Doolittle blasted through the Minor Leagues in just 16 games.
As he stepped on the mound seeking his first career save Saturday night, the rookie first-baseman-turned-pitcher was asked to stare down four hitters with a combined 25 All-Star appearances, who account for 67.5M of the Yankees payroll. Alex Rodriguez hit a leadoff single, and then the left-handed pitcher responded by striking out the side.
RECAP: Pratt's Instant Replay -- A's, Yankees 1
The legend of Sean Doolittle continues."That's really impressive, talk about coming along way," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "And now he closes a game out against the Yankees, that's a goose-bump type of thing."Doolittle pitched the ninth inning because closer Ryan Cook -- also a rookie -- had worked in three consecutive days. He got Robinson Cano swinging on a 94-mph fastball, Mark Teixeira looking on a 94-mph fastball, and Andruw Jones swinging on a 94-mph fastball. "Wow," Doolittle said in reflection of what transpired. "It still hasn't sunk in yet. It was mentioned to me before I even got back up here that at this time last year I wasn't, like, pitching to hitters." "Looking back on where I've been and where I am now, it makes it that much more special," he said. Speaking of unlikely success stories, there's A's starting pitcher Jarrod Parker who got his seventh win tonight. Parker had "Tommy John" surgery in 2009 and missed the entire 2010 season. He had to battle his way back to the Major Leagues and he has undoubtedly arrived in Oakland. He held the team with the best record in baseball to one run over eight innings of work. "Boy, Jarrod was so good," Melvin said. "Changeup really good. Only walked one guy. That's really the way you have to pitch against the Yankees."
RATTO: Hollywood, take notice of the 2012 Oakland A's
What makes the three wins the A's have in this series even more remarkable is the fact all three games were started by rookie pitchers. The three rookies allowed a combined three runs and just one walk over those three games. "Every time out we are trying to one up each other," Parker said. "It sets the tone as the starting staff." As Parker finished the eighth inning the game was tied at one. Then another unbelievable thing happened. Third baseman Brandon Inge made a bold prediction."Inge told me I'm going to get you one here," Parker said. "And he did it." Inge stepped to the plate and clubbed the go-ahead home run off Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes. The shot hit the concrete facing of the bleachers over the high wall in right center. Inge was released by the Detroit Tigers this year. The A's essentially picked him up off the scrap heap and here he is helping the team win. "In this clubhouse we're having a blast right now," Inge said. "I think that's leading to a lot of the way we are playing on the field." Inge is only hitting .200, but when he does get hits -- they are important ones. He has nine homers and 42 RBIs in 64 games this year. "Just when I think about maybe a bunt or doing something different with him he gets a hit like that," Melvin said. Then there's the story of Yoenis Cespedes. A Cuban-born phenom that escaped his home country of Cuba to chase his dream of playing Major League Baseball. In the last year he has gone from Cuba, to the Dominican Republic, to Phoenix, Arizona, to Tokyo, to Oakland.After all of that, he is hitting .306 against the best competition in the world. His fourth-inning home run was launched like a missile and landed like an asteroid deep in the left field bleachers -- coincidentally, it landed right under a Cuban flag."The most important thing is to be concentrated in what you have to do," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "In Cuba it was the same thing. We traveled a lot over there too. But not so long like this year. I try to work, be concentrated all the time and do the best that I can do." Cespedes by the way is also a rookie. He has a career-high nine-game hitting streak and is 7 for 10 with two homers and three RBIs in this series against the Yankees. If anyone was overlooking Cespedes on the national landscape it's safe to say the secret is out."He's a terrific talent and a great hitter," Melvin said. "I don't want to say he's getting more confident because he is about as confident as you can get. I think he's just understanding the league more and making adjustments quicker." The stories of the A's key contributors seem like they've leaped out of the pages of a Hollywood screenplay. They are almost too good to be true. Fans can't wait to flip the pages as the the story is unfolding. It sounds corny, but studios love a good sequel and it feels like we are watching Moneyball 2. With the A's 13-2 July record they are pacing Major League Baseball. At 50-44 they are a season-high six games over .500. They've already taken three games of a four game set with the New York Yankees. Stay tuned.

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.