Melvin on Straily: You could see his confidence elevate
Yoenis Cespedes, 27, is now batting .221 on the season with an on-base percentage of .283. (AP IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- Where Yoenis Cespedes fell short in the A's 3-1 loss on Wednesday, he delivered on the Fourth of July. No, the cleanup hitter didn't record a hit in either contest -- he's now 9-for-59 (.153) with 23 strikeouts over his last 15 games -- but it was a defensive play in the fourth inning that blew the winds of momentum into the A's sails.
[RELATED: A's earn 50th win aboard Norris Express]
Cespedes, who misplayed three balls in left field a day earlier, came up firing on Alfonso Soriano's base hit.
"I didn't think he had a chance," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "A spectacular throw.
"I don't think there's a left fielder with a better arm than him."
The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez and his league-leading nine outfield assists might take exception to that claim, but he also might not have been able to do what Cespedes did Thursday.
The throw was perfect, bouncing once before searing into catcher Derek Norris' mitt one body-width inside of Starlin Castro, who dropped into a slide and looked a bit surprised after he was tagged out.
"That's the ballgame, right there," starter Dan Straily said. "I was pretty jacked up."
Cespedes, 27, is now batting .221 on the season with an on-base percentage of .283. A's fans can hope that the defensive gem Thursday kick-starts his offense.
There was nothing Stephen Vogt could have done to avoid being demoted Thursday morning.
"It was a good showing for him." Melvin said. "Unfortunately, it was just a numbers game."
The A's won all four games that Vogt started, and Melvin -- an MLB catcher of 10 years -- was left with strictly positive impressions of the 28-year-old catcher.
"He did a great job for us," Melvin said, "He had the confidence of the staff, not only the starters he caught but the relievers as well. Got his hit out of the way with a homer and some other good at-bats for us, too. He was on same page with our pitchers very quickly. Blocked the ball well, moved around well, a good target and receives the ball well. So everything we saw was very positive."
Chris Young was caught stealing in the seventh inning, but don't put the blame on him. Derek Norris was at the plate and failed to do his part in the hit-and-run.
Melvin acknowledged that was the play he called after the game.
Still, Norris drew a walk and scored the game's only run that inning, on a passed ball.
Brett Anderson will get a scan on his fractured right foot on Friday, and the A's are hoping for good news.
"Hopefully he can get the boot off and start going in a positive direction, where he can do some baseball activities and some weight-bearing activities," Melvin said.
[NEWS: Anderson diagnosed with navicular fracture in right foot]
Anderson, 25, has been throwing from his right knee before games to keep his arm fresh. He last pitched on April 29 and is 1-4 with a 6.21 ERA in six appearances this season.
The A's sported some flashy white hats accented by red and blue for Independence Day -- MLB's "Stars and Stripes" collection -- and Melvin is a supporter.
"I'm always all for a little festivity, a little different look," Melvin said. "We're a tough color to coordinate with red, white and blue, so we do the best we can.
"It's always a fun day, you're wearing something different as far as our hat today. It's part of the season, part of baseball. There's a little bit of a break from the monotony of the day-to-day when you have something like this, so I think everybody looks forward to the Fourth of July."