Kansas City-A's: What to watch for

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Kansas City-A's: What to watch for

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Comcast SportsNet California has you covered on tonight's game between the Royals and A's. Watch A's Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m., the Royals and A's at 7 p.m. and A's Postgame Live immediately following the action.

OAKLAND -- The A's are coming off their first 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals in Oakland since their World Championship season in 1989.

Barring rough weather, they'll call on their fourth starter for the first time this season as Royals manager Ned Yost and A's manager Bob Melvin will try to steer their clubs -- two of the four youngest teams in the majors -- to a victory.
New chapter in A's pitching: Prior to Monday's game, the A's previous three 1-0 wins were all authored by Gio Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was shipped this offseason to Washington, who offered up catcher Derek Norris and pitchers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone in return.

Milone, making his first career start in Green and Gold, assuaged the sting of Gonzalez's loss immediately.
RELATED: Milone's gem -- digging deeper

Meanwhile, Gio got rocked in his inaugural start for the Nationals. He lasted just 3 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.

Rain: Gear up for a slick day at the yard. As of noon, it's raining all over the Bay Area. Weather.com forecasts a break in the showers from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. But there's an 80 chance of precipitation starting at 5 p.m., and rain appears in the forecast every hour going forward to Wednesday at 9 p.m.History is on baseball's side, though; there hasn't been a rain-out at Oakland Coliseum this millennium. It happened last on May 5, 1998, when the A's game against the Tigers had to be rescheduled. The last rain-shortened game in Oakland was in 2005, when the A's were robbed of a chance to come back from a 16-7 ninth-inning deficit to the Rangers.Young arms: With the A's re-tooling in youth this offseason, you would expect them to have one of the youngest staffs in the league. But it's the 2012 Royals who possess the youngest pitching roster in the majors with an average age of 27 years and 12 days. Tuesday's starter is doing his part to bring the average down; California coast native Danny Duffy is just 23 years old. Last season, at 22, he made 20 starts for the Royals, going 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA.The promising young lefty is comfortable close to home. Two of his four wins came against the A's in Oakland, including his first major league victory at the Coliseum last June. He gave up five runs in 12 1-3 innings against the A's last year."It's cool to pitch there," he told the Royals' official website. "I've pitched well there and it's going to be nice to pitch in front of my family again. I can't wait."The A's Graham Godfrey -- years older at 27, despite just four major league starts -- is preparing for his first start of the season, and looking to justify manager Bob Melvin's designation as the fourth man in the rotation.Extra bases: The fact that Yoenis Cespedes has four hits in his first five MLB games is not impressive; the fact that three of those four hits left the yard, and the fourth was a double, is. Cespedes is the first player since 1969 to record an extra-base hit in each of his first four career games (Coco Laboy).The Royals have a young star-in-the-making of their own in Eric Hosmer. The six-foot-four, 22-year old first baseman also has four hits this year, and two of them have been big flies.Hosmer and Cespedes were silenced in the A's 1-0 win over the Royals Monday. Hosmer went 0-for-2 with two walks, while Cespdedes went 0-for-3 with one walk.
RECAP: A's beat Royal 1-0 behind Milone, strong defense
You can't keep players like these out of the box scores for long. A key to Game 2 of the three-game home series will be who wins the Hosmer vs. Cespedes battle.Rested: After 8 2-3 innings of bullpen work in the short series with Seattle, A's relievers are now on two days rest. A team day off Sunday, and Tommy Milone's eight innings of three-hit ball Monday gave confidence to Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young that they have a freshly stocked 'pen, all the more important with rain expected.A's closer Grant Balfour, the only other pitcher to toss Monday, has appeared in each of the A's past two games, throwing 16 and 18 pitches.Opportunistic schedule: With division-rival Angels out of action Tuesday, and the Rangers matched up with the Mariners, the A's would gain ground on two division opponents with a win.Bacon Tuesday returns: Last year, Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur made fans in the Oakland bleachers when interaction surrounding the unofficial "Bacon Tuesday" led to a gift for bleacher-dwellers -- an autographed baseball specially fitted with a 100 bill and a personal message.REWIND: Francoeur makes fans in Oakland bleachers
"Beer or bacon dog on me. Jeff Francoeur."The right-field bleacher group told CSNBayArea.com in January they plan to use the money to fund the second annual "Bacon Tuesday."
That day has finally come.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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USATSI

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

The A's hit a lot of home runs and they appear to be bringing back a player that hits a lot of home runs.

Chris Carter, who played for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is reportedly signing a minor league contract to return to the organization.

News of the deal was first reported by FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman.

Carter was released by the Yankees on July 10. In 62 games for New York, Carter hit .201/.284/.370 with five doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBI.

Over the previous four seasons between Houston and Milwaukee, Carter hit 131 home runs and drove in 328 runs.

Carter's high-water mark with the A's came in 2012 when he hit 16 home runs in 67 games.

Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

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Sonny Gray keeps dealing, A's avoid sweep with win over Rays

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Sonny Gray struck out six pitching into the seventh in what might have been his final home start in Oakland if the club tries to deal him before the trade deadline, and the Athletics rallied in the fifth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Wednesday.

Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to the right-field seats in the eighth for Oakland.

Rajai Davis doubled home Oakland's first run in the fifth then Joyce followed with a tying sacrifice fly before Davis scurried home with the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Gray (6-4) won his third straight start and fourth in five. When speculation arose from the White Sox side before his Friday outing that the right-hander had been scratched because of a possible deal, the A's quickly announced that he was indeed taking the mound for his scheduled outing.

After a pair of one-run defeats to begin this series, the A's avoided being swept by the Rays in Oakland for the first time. This already marked just their third lost series at home to Tampa Bay.

Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks.

The Rays got three straight singles off Gray to start the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Wilson Ramos. Brad Miller also drove in a run on a groundout.

But Oakland finally got to Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Faria (4-1) in the fifth. With seven straight quality starts to begin his career, Faria took his first big league loss.

A's All-Star Yonder Alonso hit an RBI single in the inning, when Faria had two of his four walks. He allowed six hits and four runs in five innings, striking out four.

Alonso was thrown out at home in the first when he tried to go from first on Khris Davis' double to right. The throw beat him so handily Alonso didn't even try to slide and instead ran behind the plate before turning for the dugout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RF Steven Souza Jr. exited the game in the first after straining his left hip trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk to start the game. Shane Peterson replaced him. X-rays were negative and he will be re-evaluated once the team arrives home. ... Manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell would make his next turn in the rotation despite still being winless at 0-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 11 starts. "He's going to pitch well," Cash said.

Athletics: The A's hope to have Chad Pinder back from the DL and a strained left hamstring when they return home from an upcoming seven-game trip to the New York Mets and Toronto. Manager Bob Melvin plans to use him as a utilityman. ... RHP Kendall Graveman allowed five hits and four runs with one strikeout and a walk on 46 pitches in 2 1/3 innings with Triple-A Nashville rehabbing his strained pitching shoulder. RHP Jharel Cotton (blister on his right thumb) also pitched in the game, striking out six in 3 1/3 innings, while Pinder was 0 for 2 with a walk and strikeout for the Sounds.

UP NEXT

Rays: With the Rays back home, RHP Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) takes the ball in Friday's series opener against Yu Darvish and Texas having not faced the Rangers since April 6, 2014.

Athletics: After Thursday's day off following a cross-country flight, RHP Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.83 ERA) pitches the series opener at the Mets in his fourth career start.