Athletics

Instant Analysis: A's beat Angels in chippy affair, end eight-game skid

Instant Analysis: A's beat Angels in chippy affair, end eight-game skid

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — In a game that included some unusual controversy, a trace of normalcy returned for the A’s pitching staff. That paved the way to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels that snapped Oakland’s season-high eight-game losing streak. Sean Manaea pitched into the seventh inning and tied his career high with 115 pitches. It was the kind of stabilizing effort the A’s badly needed as their starters have struggled mightily of late.

Manaea (10-9) gave up five hits and struck out six over six-plus innings, becoming just the fifth Oakland starter in the past nine games to complete more than four innings.

The A’s had just taken a 1-0 lead on Khris Davis’ 39th homer in the bottom of the fourth when tensions escalated. Rookie third baseman Matt Chapman was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt when he began jawing with Angels catcher Juan Graterol as he was digging in to the box to begin his at-bat.

It wasn’t the first signal of tension in the early innings of this game, as Graterol and A’s center fielder Mark Canha exchanged words before and after Graterol went out to the mound in the second to talk to Angels starter Tyler Skaggs.

After that second-inning incident, replays showed Everitt talking to someone in the Angels dugout and the words “stealing a sign” could be heard. It appeared the Angels were accusing the A’s of stealing signs.

Sign-stealing is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts around the game right now after the revelation of the Boston Red Sox reportedly using electronic technology in stealing signs from the New York Yankees.

At any rate, Chapman began exchanging words with Graterol in the fourth before he even saw a pitch from Angels starter Tyler Skaggs. Everett quickly got between Chapman and Graterol and then the umpire began lecturing Chapman. A few moments later, Everett ejected Chapman. Renato Nunez pinch-hit for him and took over at third base. Aside from that, the game played out in conventional fashion and clocked in at a reasonable 3 hours, 10 minutes. From that standpoint, it was different from the first two games of this three-game set, both Angels wins and both marathon extra-inning games that featured both managers making rapid-fire pitching changes with expanded bullpens at their disposal.

The A’s scored twice in the fifth to increase their lead to 3-0 on Chad Pinder’s RBI single to score Marcus Semien, and a Davis fly ball that got lost in the sun by Justin Upton for a run-scoring error. With Blake Treinen unavaialble, Chris Hatcher closed out the ninth for his first save in the American League.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

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USATI

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

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NBCSportsBayArea.com

Jharel Cotton suffers injury during pregame warmups, scratched vs Tigers

A’s rookie Jharel Cotton was a late scratch from Monday’s start in Detroit after suffering a strained right groin.

Cotton began his typical pregame throwing routine at Comerica Park. Then cameras caught him grabbing at his leg. Shortly after, he walked off the field and long reliever Raul Alcantara went out to warm up. Alcantara made the start in the opener of a three-game series against the Tigers.

Though there was no indication from the A’s about the severity of the strain, with less than two weeks left in the regular season, it brings up the possibility of Cotton simply being shut down for the season. More detail likely will be given to reporters by manager Bob Melvin after the game.

Cotton is 8-10 with a 5.81 ERA in 23 starts this season.