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.

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's

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NEW YORK — Michael Conforto hit a pair of two-run homers and Jerry Blevins rescued the Mets' bullpen with a five-out save as New York held off the Oakland Athletics 7-5 on Friday night for its third straight victory.

T.J. Rivera put the Mets ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run single that turned into a Little League home run. Rivera came all the way around to score on the play after third baseman Matt Chapman, trying to get Rivera at second, threw the ball away into right field for a costly error that made it 5-3.

Moments earlier, New York loaded the bases when Lucas Duda's bad-hop infield single struck first baseman Ryon Healy near the temple. Healy left the game and walked off under his own power with a swollen bruise next to his left eye.

Conforto's second homer made it 7-3 in the seventh. Oakland rallied for two in the eighth, but Blevins replaced closer Addison Reed with the bases loaded and got five straight outs against his former team for his fifth major league save and first this season.

Normally a lefty specialist, Blevins recorded five outs in a game for the first time since 2014 with Washington. He retired All-Star slugger Yonder Alonso on a foul popup and struck out Khris Davis to escape the eighth-inning jam.

"We just tried to find some matchups that worked," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Yoenis Cespedes had three hits after raising eyebrows when he told the San Francisco Chronicle before the game that he wants to play the final season of his career in Oakland, his first big league team.

Cespedes, who signed a $110 million, four-year contract in the offseason to remain with the Mets, also said A's manager Bob Melvin is his favorite skipper and he doesn't think there's a better one.

"Bob's a great manager. I don't blame him," Collins said after the game. "This is the first I've heard of it."

After the game, Cespedes clarified his comments while speaking with reporters through a translator and said he meant no disrespect toward Collins or the Mets.