Kottaras' blast in Seattle puts A's at ease


Kottaras' blast in Seattle puts A's at ease


SEATTLE -- Still digesting a three-game sweep at the hands of their division rivals, and the terrifying news of a two hour surgery on their ace Brandon McCarthy, the weight of the world was seemingly placed squarely on the shoulders of the Oakland Athletics.Enter Atlas, also known as George Kottaras. With a similar physique as the Grecian mythological figure who hoists the globe, Kottaras crushed a fourth-inning, go-ahead three-run homer that seemed to uplift the downtrodden A's en route to a much-needed 6-1 win over the Mariners. Kottaras' seventh homer of the season couldn't have come at a better time, or against a tougher pitcher. It's not often you see the Mariners' ace and Cy Young Award winner "King Felix" Hernandez get knocked around. "Those types of homers feel like they put more runs on the board than they actually do," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "To get to 4-1 against Felix, it feels like a 10-run homer." When all was said and done, Hernandez allowed a season high-tying 11 hits and six runs, five earned. It is only the second time the right-handed pitcher has been pulled before completing five innings all year. "Facing a guy like that, it is good to have a little wiggle room," Kottaras said. "It puts you ahead and kind of puts you at ease a little bit." A's starting pitcher A.J. Griffin took the ball and delivered yet again. The rookie pitcher is now 5-0 to start his major league career, the first pitcher in Oakland history to do so since Todd Burns in 1988. "Seems like every time he pitches we feel good about our chances and he gives us a great chance to win," Melvin said. "The performance and results have been the same every time." Griffin overthrew the pressures of pitching opposite Hernandez in the King's Court. He tossed five and one-third innings of one-run ball, struck out seven batters and walked just one. "You just have to worry about doing your job," Griffin said. "You have no control over what he does out there, I just have to go out there and pitch the best game that I can."Having a little run support does a lot for the psyche. Stephen Drew's fifth-inning single knocked Hernandez out of the game and gave the A's a 6-1 lead. Drew has now reached base safely in 13 of his 15 games since being traded to Oakland. Drew's hit was preceded by a Josh Donaldson RBI double. Donaldson has eight doubles, five homers and 16 RBI since being recalled on August 20. Yoenis Cespedes drove in the A's first run in the first frame and went 2-for-5 registering his 32nd multi-hit game.The A's drubbing of the Mariners put them back atop the American League Wild Card standings. It also lifted their spirits. During the game McCarthy's No. 32 jersey was proudly displayed in the dugout. Before the game Jonny Gomes brought the jersey out from the clubhouse.RELATED: McCarthy shows 'great progress' after brain trauma
"It's an emotional thing thinking about it," Kottaras said. "He wished us luck before the game. Our thoughts are with him but you have a job to do as well." "He's in all of our thoughts right now," Griffin said. "We just hope that he's OK and it's really scary."

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees


NEW YORK -- Oakland rookie Jharel Cotton held the Yankees hitless until Matt Holliday launched a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth inning that sent resurgent CC Sabathia and New York to a 3-2 victory Saturday.

Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was in the right spot for a pair of key catches to boost the AL East leaders, who won with just two hits.

Sabathia (5-2) has won three straight starts for the first time since April 2013. The 36-year-old lefty pitched into the seventh and struck out nine.

Dellin Betances escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the eighth, an inning that included the ejections of A's hitter Jed Lowrie and manager Bob Melvin for arguing strike three calls. Betances closed for his fifth save.

Cotton (3-5) was promoted from Triple-A Nashville before the game. He began the season in the Athletics' rotation but was sent down to the minors May 11 to refine his game.

Cotton's work on mixing his repertoire and throwing inside paid off. The 25-year-old righty hadn't come close to giving up a hit when he retired the first two batters in the sixth, yet he had thrown a lot of pitches.

After Gary Sanchez walked, Holliday homered. He connected on Cotton's 105th delivery, sending a drive to nearly the exact spot where Frankie Montas was warming up in the Oakland bullpen for a 3-1 lead.

Starlin Castro followed with a sharp single that finished Cotton, who struck out five and walked three in his 13th big league start. Cotton made his debut last September.

The last pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees all by himself was Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958 for Baltimore. In 2003, six Houston pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees.

Ryon Healy hit an RBI double with two outs in the sixth that made it 1-all and took third on the throw home. Trevor Plouffe then lofted a fly to shallow right that Castro chased back from his second base spot - the ball popped out of his glove, right into Judge's mitt.

The 6-foot-7 Judge collided with beefy first baseman Chris Carter while swooping in to grab Chad Pinder's foul fly leading off the seventh. Judge's sunglasses went flying and Carter went down, but everyone was OK.

The Yankees scored in the first on a walk, a hit batter and Castro's sacrifice fly.

Josh Phegley homered off Sabathia in the seventh, pulling the A's to 3-2.


Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso missed his third straight start because of a sore right wrist. Melvin said he hoped Alonso could play Sunday.

Yankees: Closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) made 25 throws from 60 feet, his first baseball activity in two weeks. He said he felt fine after the workout and that he will throw again Sunday. ... Slumping 3B Chase Headley will get a day or two off. "He's just frustrated and trying too hard," manager Joe Girardi said.


Athletics: RHP Andrew Triggs (5-3, 2.77) is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in four May starts after going 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA in five April starts.

Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (5-2, 3.35) has given up no more than three earned runs in his last eight starts.

A's lineup: Canha moves up, Pinder at DH against Yankees

A's lineup: Canha moves up, Pinder at DH against Yankees

The A's look to take down the Yankees in some early Saturday baseball. Manager Bob Melvin makes some changes to the order.

Oakland A's (22-25)

1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Mark Canha (R) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Ryon Healy (R) 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) DH
8. Josh Phegley (R) C
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jharel Cotton -- RHP

New York Yankees (27-18)

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Gary Sanchez (R) C
3. Matt Holliday (R) DH
4. Starlin Castro (R) 2B
5. Aaron Judge (R) RF
6. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
7. Aaron Hicks (S) CF
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B
9. Ronald Torreyes (R) 3B
CC Sabathia -- LHP