Instant Replay: A's 4, Dodgers 1

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Instant Replay: A's 4, Dodgers 1

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OAKLAND It's been a banner week for Travis Blackley. He recorded his first MLB win since his debut almost eight years earlier last Friday, and he went toe-to-toe with the reigning Cy Young Award winner on Thursday.Blackley threw a career-high eight innings and faced just two batters over the minimum, but he would not factor into the decision.The decision would go to Ryan Cook, who benefited from solid defense in the top of the ninth and a self-induced rally by Dodgers reliever Josh Lindblom. Lindblom walked Coco Crisp to lead off the inning, and sent Crisp to second on a wild pitch.The A's saved some dramatics for the ninth inning. They earned the 4-1 walk-off win -- and the series sweep -- on Yoenis Cespedes' first career walk-off home run. It was their second sweep in the last three series and their eighth win in the last nine games.Starting pitching report:After going almost eight years without an MLB win, Travis Blackley had a chance to win back-to-back starts Thursday. He was fast out of the gate, striking out two in the first inning and retiring the first 10 Dodgers he faced in order.Elian Herrera's solid fourth-inning double to left center broke up his roll, and Juan Rivera's subsequent single that clung to the first base line foiled the shutout and evened the game at one.Blackley wasn't fazed. He threw an incredible 67 of 87 pitches for strikes, recording first-pitch strikes 21 out of a possible 26 times. Blackley finished with eight innings pitched, three hits and one run allowed, no walks and six strikeouts.Bullpen report:Ryan Cook replaced Blackley in the ninth inning, and mistakenly walked the leadoff batter. But thanks to defensive help from Brandon Inge and Derek Norris, he only needed to face three batters to get out of the inning.At the plate:It looked good right off the bat when Coco Crisp beat out a weak roller to third base, but the first inning went awry. Jemile Weeks failed to do his job, popping up his sacrifice bunt attempt to first base. And Coco Crisp took off on Clayton Kershaw's first move and was -- for the first time in 37 tries -- cut down trying to steal.Instead of allowing Kershaw to settle in, though, the A's went right after him in the second. Jonny Gomes led off the inning with a double that bounced before caroming off left fielder Elian Herrera. After Gomes advanced to third on a wild pitch, Brandon Inge sent two balls deep to left field. The first clanged off the facade of the second deck about 12 feet left of the foul pole. The next, hit in fair territory, was barely corralled by Herrera at the track and Gomes trotted in to score the game's first run and register Inge's 31st RBI in his 31st game with Oakland.For the second time in as many days, Yoenis Cespedes sent a ball high and deep into the Oakland air, only for it to fall harmlessly to a Dodgers outfielder near the wall. His fourth-inning blast off Kershaw had the right sound, but it came down just in front of the CSN California sign, about 370 feet out in left center.Inge was seeing Kershaw well. In the seventh inning he sent another ball deep to left. He and Kershaw thought he got all of it; Kerhsaw lept off the mound and Inge began his trot to first base. But Herrera was there to make another Inge out on the warning track.In his first major league at-bat Derek Norris grounded into an inning-ending double play. He hit a ball well to left-center field in his next at-bat, but was put away by Tony Gwynn Jr. In his third at-bat, he smoked a liner down the left-field line, but Juan Uribe was perfectly positioned for the put out.Yoenis Cespedes ended the game with an exclamation mark. His blast to left barely tucked in over the 330-foot sign down the left field line, and if you blinked, you didn't see it sear the 55-degree Oakland air.In the field:In his start last Friday, Travis Blackley showed a dangerous pickoff move to first base in which his planted right foot flirts with the 45 degree boundary. It was on display again Thursday, as Blackley ended the fourth inning by catching Juan Rivera leaning.In the seventh inning, Brandon Moss dove to his right to snag Andre Either's ground ball. He threw on to Blackley to record the out. The A's had some defensive concerns about a converted outfielder taking on a new position, but Moss has just one error in 96 attempts entering Thursday. After the play, he turned to Jemile Weeks to confer about whose ball it was. Weeks seemed to be in position to make the play and nodded to whatever Moss asked him.The A's put together a gutsy defensive ninth inning. Brandon Inge opted for the high-risk, high-reward option on Dee Gordon's two-strike sacrifice bunt. The A's reward was high when his throw barely beat catcher Matt Treaner to the bag. It left Gordon on first base in a steal situation. After Ryan Cook threw over to first at least four times, Gordon tried to steal. Making his first career start, Norris came up big, throwing a frozen rope to cut down Gordon at second, clearing the bases and ending the Dodgers' ninth-inning threat.On the bases:Coco Crisp's franchise record of 36 consecutive successful steals came to end in the first inning when he took off for second on Clayton Kershaw's first move and the Dodgers went 1-3-6 to cut him down. Ichiro Suzuki's A.L. record of 45 is safe, and so is Vince Coleman's MLB record of 50.
Attendance:Tough to tell what the split was, but it looked like a sea of blue at the Coliseum, where Thursday saw an announced attendance of 23,337. The streaking A's are drawing right now; they've only had one game this homestand with a paid attendance under 20,000. Up next:The final and most exciting series of the A's sweep through the NL West is up next. Due to a rotational adjustment to protect young Jarrod Parker's arm, it will be he who takes the ball in Game 1 of the Bay Bridge Series.Parker (3-3, 2.82) faced the Giants in Game 1 of the first interleague matchup between the A's and Giants, and got rocked. He lasted all of two innings, allowing six earned runs on four hits and four walks. It was the only time he failed to record a strikeout in a start this year, and his only start in which he did not complete five innings. His loss contributed to the Giants' 2-1 series victory.Opposing Parker will be Tim Lincecum (2-8, 6.19), who is searching for himself amidst a stretch of nine starts in which the Giants are winless.

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

After five seasons in Oakland, Stephen Vogt begins a new chapter of his career in Milwaukee.

The 32-year-old was designated for assignment by the last-place A's on Thursday and claimed by the first-place Brewers on Sunday.

On Monday, the two-time All-Star catcher discussed his new opportunity with a contender on MLB Network Radio.

"Obviously I was ecstatic to hear I was headed to Milwaukee. We all watch baseball and they are such a fun team to watch right now. And your buddy Eric Sogard is there, so I've got some familiarity. It's an opportunity to win and I think anybody, when you get to the stage I'm in in my career, where I'm 32, I want to win. I'm at the point where that's kind of the goal in the big leagues where all you care about is winning and that's where I'm at. So, to get the news that I'm headed to a first-place team, I couldn't be more excited," Vogt said.

After making the AL All-Star team the last two seasons, Vogt struggled to the tune of a .217 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games.

But with a new team in a new league comes a fresh slate.

"You get that rejuvenation feeling, you get that feeling that this is the change you needed especially going to a winning team where when you're winning, everyone plays better, when you're winning, everyones happier. No matter where you are in life, you want to have that feeling that somebody wants you. So to have Milwaukee come in and say 'We wanted you,' Yeah, it recharged the batteries. I'm ready to go," Vogt said.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

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The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.