Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

871681.jpg

Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

OAKLAND The As attacked Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the gate and benefited from another quality start from Brett Anderson to complete a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 6-2 win Sunday at the O.co Coliseum.The As outscored the Red Sox 33-5 in the series and finished 8-1 against Boston this season, which tops their 18-3 record against Boston in 1928.Oakland has now won nine straight games and remains just three games back of the Texas Rangers in the American League West.Starting pitching reportIn his third start since a 14-month layoff due to Tommy John surgery, Anderson had his worst start of the season. Anderson allowed one run in six innings; thats how high he set the bar in his first two starts. Anderson allowed one run in seven innings in his 2012 debut on Aug. 21 and then came back with seven shutout innings on Aug. 27 at Cleveland.Anderson needed just 11 pitches to get through the first inning, in which the only blemish was a single by Dustin Pedroia that extended his hit streak to 13 games. The As southpaw was even more efficient in the second, as he threw 10 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning that ended with a strikeout of Mike Aviles.The Red Sox continued to flail against Andersons arsenal, as they could muster a lone single in the third through fifth innings. Anderson struck out two and got five more of his outs on the ground over that span.Anderson finally ran into his first real trouble in the sixth, when he walked Bostons No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias to lead off the inning. Iglesias was forced out at second on Pedro Ciriacos near-double play grounder and Anderson followed by inducing a pop up off the bat of Scott Podsednik. Unfortunately for Anderson and the As, the pop up found some empty real estate on the line in shallow left. Pedroia followed with a sharp grounder that Josh Donaldson made a great diving stop on, but he couldnt complete the play as the Red Sox loaded the bases.Cody Ross stroked a clean single to left to plate the first run against Anderson, but Yoenis Cespedes made sure Boston didnt get a second across with a perfect throw home to nail Podsednik. Anderson ended the inning emphatically with a strikeout of Mauro Gomez.After watching Anderson throw 90 pitches on the afternoon, As manager Bob Melvin decided to play it safe with a comfortable lead and turned to his bullpen in the seventh.Anderson improved to 3-0 on the season, but had his miniscule ERA jump to 0.90. He allowed one run on five hits and a walk in six innings and struck out four Red Sox, all swinging. Sixty of his 90 pitches were thrown for strikes.Bullpen reportOne-time closer Ryan Cook got the first nod from Melvin to relieve Anderson and set the Red Sox down in order, including an inning-ending strikeout of James Loney, the man with the unenviable task of taking over for Adrian Gonzalez.Sean Doolittle followed with a scoreless inning of his own before Grant Balfour took over in the ninth. Dustin Pedroia led off the final frame with a double and came around to score on a sacrifice fly, but Balfour bounced back to end the game with a strikeout of Ryan Lavarnway.At the plateThe As wasted no time pouncing on Daisuke Matsuzaka. Coco Crisp forced Dice-K to throw seven pitches as he coaxed a leadoff walk, then came around to score on a towering drive into the right-centerfield seats by Seth Smith.Matsuzaka left a pitch over the middle of the plate in the second inning that Stephen Drew turned on for his first home run as a member of the Athletics.Crisp and Smith combined to start another As rally in the third inning. Crisp led off the frame with another walk, stole second, and advanced to third on Smiths line drive single to right. Crisp scored his second run and the As fourth when Josh Reddick lifted a sacrifice fly to left-centerfield. But the As werent done yet. After Cespedes hit a fly ball to right for the second out, Oakland loaded the bases with a Brandon Moss single and Josh Donaldson walk. A visibly upset Matsuzaka then gave up a single to Drew that scored Smith. Matsuzaka left the bases loaded by striking out Derek Norris, but departed the mound after the fourth inning having allowed five runs and thrown 78 pitches, 45 for strikes.Much maligned manager Bobby Valentine allowed Matsuzaka to try to complete his first scoreless inning, but the move backfired. Cliff Pennington led off the fourth with a bunt single and came around to score on a bases-loaded groundout from Cespedes. Chris Carter, brought in to pinch hit when Valentine pulled Matsuzaka for lefty Andrew Miller, struck out to end the threat.Once Matsuzaka left the game, the As had a hard time piling on more runs, as they were held scoreless by the Boston bullpen the rest of the way.In fieldReddick made a running catch of Jose Iglesias sinking line drive on the 10-yard line in right field.Reddick has racked up his fair share of outfield assists this season, but it was Cespedes turn to show off his cannon Sunday. With the bases loaded against Anderson in the sixth, Ross singled to left and Red Sox third base coach Jerry Royster tried to push a second run across. Cespedes charged the ball and threw a perfect no-hop strike to Norris at home plate to beat speedster Scott Podsednik and keep the As lead at 6-1.On the basesAfter working his second walk in two plate appearances in the third inning, Crisp took off for second and stole his 31st base of the season without a throw from Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway.Pennington showed off some wheels in the fourth, racing down the first-base line for a bunt single before stealing second for his 15th theft of the campaign.AttendanceThe As announced a paid crowd of 25,314 on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The event raised 53,600 for the American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.Up nextThe streaking As will look to match their longest win streak since the legendary 20-gamer with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which would be their 10th straight. Young southpaw Tommy Milone (11-9, 3.73 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener in Anaheim and the Angels will start Oakland Public Enemy No. 1 C.J. Wilson (10-9, 3.86 ERA).

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.

Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey 

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton

 

New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

New-look A's continue the youth movement with Maxwell's arrival

OAKLAND — The A’s set off for Chicago on Thursday evening to begin their next road trip, and how their dynamic has changed over the course of one week.

They began their most recent homestand by cutting ties with veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe to make room for hotshot prospect Matt Chapman. On Thursday, catcher Stephen Vogt suffered the same fate as Plouffe, getting designated for assignment to make room for another young player in Bruce Maxwell.

The calendar may still read June, with more than half of the season remaining, but the A’s are cleaning house, undergoing a reboot and playing the rest of 2017 with an emphasis on what lies ahead.

Five of the nine position players in their starting lineup for Thursday’s 12-9 loss to the Houston Astros are what you would consider “future” guys — center fielder Jaycob Brugman, third baseman Ryon Healy, second baseman Chad Pinder, Maxwell and right fielder Matt Olson.

They will shuffle around the diamond a bit, and Olson may only stay with the big club until Chapman comes off the disabled list (though Olson’s full-time status in the bigs doesn’t seem far off). Regardless, the plan is crystal clear — the A’s are hitching their wagon to their young core and are prepared to let them develop at the major league level, with whatever successes and failures may come with the growth process.

“We do get excited about giving these guys playing time,” A’s general manager David Forst said before Thursday’s game.

The Astros finished off a four-game sweep of Oakland with their 12-9 victory, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and then holding on after the A’s mounted a late charge. Glance up and down the box score, and those key young players were instrumental in so much that went right for the A’s.

Maxwell went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Olson drove in two runs. Pinder had two hits and an RBI. Brugman chipped in an RBI single and walked twice. That was the silver lining on a day that starting pitcher Jesse Hahn struggled mightily, allowing nine earned runs in just two innings.

“These guys are gonna be important,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The last thing you want to see when you’re down 10-0 is guys just cash it in, and that wasn’t the case. These guys all have something to play for. They’re playing for jobs. And in the future, starting jobs.”

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, middle infielder Franklin Barreto will join the mix from Triple-A Nashville. For now, an immediate storyline is the health of Chapman, who joined the 10-day disabled list with a case of cellulitis (bacterial infection) in his left knee. The A’s checked him into a hospital Wednesday night to get an intravenous antibiotic, after his condition “plateaued” with oral antibiotics, according to Forst.

He said Chapman is likely to leave the hospital Friday, and the A’s are hopeful the rookie third baseman will be able to return when he’s eligible to come off the D.L. His stint can be backdated to Monday, meaning Chapman is eligible to return next Thursday at Houston.

He’s part of the youth movement that resulted in Vogt getting shown the exit. Maxwell sent Vogt a text message wishing him the best Thursday morning, and Vogt quickly responded, wishing him the best. That meant a lot to Maxwell, who didn’t learn until Thursday morning that his roster spot was coming at Vogt’s expense.

But Maxwell said he’s excited to be surrounded by so many players that he’s advanced through the minors with.

“Once we get everybody acclimated to each other and the game up here,” he said, “I feel like we could potentially set up a turning point for this organization for years to come.”