Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

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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 spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

A's spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

PHOENIX — Bruce Maxwell homered twice against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, and his reward was a demotion to the minors.

Awkward timing, for sure. But the news itself wasn’t much of a shock to the A’s catcher, who knew he was the odd man out in a three-man roster battle. The A’s like the left-right platoon behind the plate. Stephen Vogt, who like Maxwell hits left-handed, wasn’t going anywhere. Josh Phegley is back healthy after knee surgery and has the advantage of being a right-handed hitter.

“I mean, I could have come out here and hit 1.000 and I probably still would have been in the same situation,” Maxwell said. “I can’t really do much about it. I try not to worry about it. At the end of the day everybody wants to play in the big leagues, but if the opportunity is not there you can’t stress about it.”

Manager Bob Melvin gave Maxwell the news in the dugout after he exited Oakland’s 11-1 victory, and Melvin certainly couldn’t give Maxwell a justifiable reason for the demotion except that the roster math doesn’t add up.

“Great day to have to do that,” Melvin said sarcastically. “But, he’ll be here at some point. We saw his progression last year, he did a great job for us. There’s nothing he did to suggest he needed to be sent down. It’s just a numbers game for him right now.”

The A’s batted around in a five-run third, knocking Brewers starter Matt Garza from the game after he recorded just seven outs. They tacked on four more in the fourth, with Maxwell going deep to left-center for a two-run homer off Jhan Marinez. In the sixth, he hit a solo shot off Corey Knebel to right-center and also added a run-scoring single to complete his four-RBI day.

Melvin has spoken often of the improving power shown by the 26-year-old Maxwell, who hit .283 with a homer and 14 RBI in 33 games with Oakland last season in his first major league call-up.

“If you look at the power numbers over the years, he’s getting better and better,” Melvin said. “He’s got the chance to be a 20-home run guy in the big leagues.”

NOTEWORTHY: Jharel Cotton held Milwaukee to just a run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He bounced back from a wobbly start against Seattle in which he walked five. On Sunday, his toughest challenge was staying loose as the A’s offense put up two time-consuming rallies. Twice, Cotton had to play catch while his teammates paraded around the bases.

But it sure didn’t affect him, as he struck out seven and walked one in his second-to-last spring training start.

“This one, I was more on the attack, using my fastball more so I can set up my changeup and off-speed pitches,” Cotton said. “I know everybody raves about the changeup, but I need my fastball to be there so I can throw that pitch off the fastball.”

He had an entertaining ongoing battle with six-time All-Star Ryan Braun. He struck out Braun on a cutter in the first, gave up a homer to left in the fourth, then battled back from a 3-0 count to get Braun swinging through a fastball in the sixth.

“I got him twice, he got me once,” Cotton said. “I think I won that battle today.”

HEALTH UPDATE: Daniel Mengden, who has missed all of spring with a broken right foot, is scheduled to get his walking boot removed Monday. Mengden said he’ll stay in Arizona for anywhere from two to four weeks, taking part in extended spring training. The good news for the right-hander: He’s been able to play catch while wearing the boot, so that’s a bit of a head-start for him once he gets full mobility with his foot. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

ODDS AND ENDS: The A’s knocked out 16 hits and recorded double-digit runs for the fifth time this spring. They improved to 16-12. … Alejandro De Aza, fighting for an outfield roster spot, went 2-for-3 with an RBI to raise his average to .300. … With few regulars making the trip to Maryvale Baseball Park, second baseman Max Schrock came over from minor league camp and once again made an impact, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. … John Axford threw a scoreless inning of relief. Frankie Montas handled the final two innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts and a walk. The hard-throwing prospect is a candidate for the bullpen as a multi-inning guy.

A's option catcher Bruce Maxwell to Triple-A; 37 players remain in camp

A's option catcher Bruce Maxwell to Triple-A; 37 players remain in camp

The A's optioned catcher Bruce Maxwell to Triple-A Nashville Sunday, the club announced

Maxwell, 26, went 3-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI in the A's 11-1 win over the Brewers Sunday. Both home runs were his lone of the spring. 

In 2016, Maxwell played in 26 games with the A's after his promotion from Triple-A. He hit .283 with one homer. 

The 2012 second-round draft pick is a career .266/.346/.370 hitter in the minors with 25 home runs. Maxwell is the A's No. 10 prospect by Baseball America. 

The A’s now have 37 players in big league camp.