Drew's all-over-the-place effort sparks A's

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Drew's all-over-the-place effort sparks A's

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OAKLAND -- On a night that Major League Baseball's 500,000th error was committed, the A's defense dazzled at the Oakland Coliseum. After making an American League-worst 124 errors in 2011, the A's made it their priority to focus on their glove work going forward and the leather was on full display on Saturday as they again held the Orioles to just two runs to win the game 5-2.Stephen Drew's all-over-the-place effort led the way. He snared a liner that saved a hit, made a highlight reel glove flip on a play ranging up the middle, ranged deep into foul territory to make a catch, and was the relay man in possibly the most pivotal play of the game. "I just told him 'You had a busy night, huh?'" starting pitcher Jarrod Parker said of Drew. "He's running the left field line, up the middle, everywhere. That's what's fun to watch and he's able to make some great plays and it really helps out mentally for me."As the media assembled around Drew for his postgame comments, reliever Ryan Cook walked by and proclaimed in a joking fashion that Drew is the best shortstop ever. On this night he sure looked the part."I like getting action out there instead of sitting back on my hill," Drew said. Oh, and he hit a home run too. Drew really did do it all on this evening. His second home run with the A's put Oakland on the board in the third inning. It sparked a five-run rally that saw 10 batters step to the plate."It's been fun being here," Drew said. "It's kind of crazy how this team works sometimes."The five-run rally featured RBI singles from Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes and a two-run opposite field double down the right field line hit by Chris Carter. On Carter's double Cespedes got a great jump and was running so fast that he almost passed Reddick on the base paths. "Reddick runs pretty good but when Cespedes gets going full tilt he runs really well," Melvin said. "It was a big inning for us."After the A's big inning, the Orioles were answering with a rally of their own. Adam Jones led off with a single and Chris Davis clubbed a double to the wall in left field. As Jones rounded third and headed for for home, Cespedes got to the ball and came up throwing. He hit Drew with a perfectly-aimed throw and Drew turned and fired home to catcher Derek Norris, who caught the ball in perfect position to make the tag on Jones at the plate. The impressive defensive effort stopped the Orioles in their tracks and seemed to deflate them offensively. "You see that play not go right a lot," Melvin said. "Everything has to work on a play like that."Parker was the beneficiary of the A's stout defense and explosive inning, but he made his own luck with another solid pitching performance, earning his 11th win of the season. He lasted seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He now has 119 strikeouts this season, which is fifth-most for a rookie in Oakland history. He fell behind 2-0 early in the game after allowing an RBI double to Mark Reynolds in the second inning and a solo homer to Nate McLouth in the third inning, but grounded the Orioles hitters after that. "Early on I was kind of battling myself a little bit and then I was able to get over that and just pitch a little better," Parker said. "They are an aggressive team and I got some early contact with some offspeed pitches and that helped out." The A's victory over the Orioles could come in handy later as it clinched the season series. If the A's and O's finish with the same record atop the Wild Card standings, the one-game Wild Card playoff game will now take place in Oakland. The A's are now a season-high 23 games over .500 and just two games behind the Rangers in the American League West after Texas lost 8-6 to the Mariners on Saturday. Oakland hasn't been this close to Texas in the standings since April 13.
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"We know that stuff is going on," Parker said. "We just want to win. That's all you can ask for. If we take care of our business then good things are going to happen."Oakland has won eight of the last nine games, and are 41-18 since the All-Star Break. They are keeping it all in perspective behind their even keel manager. "As long as we can try to remain in the moment not get too caught up in how things are going, what's being written, and where you are in the season, and just kind of play for the day and have all your energies in that, then I think it's easier to focus and stay calm," Melvin said.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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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

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

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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.

TRAINER'S ROOM

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.

UP NEXT

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.