Leyland expects more from his offense, campaigns for Melvin

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Leyland expects more from his offense, campaigns for Melvin

OAKLAND Considering his Tigers have a commanding 2-0 leadin the American League Division series against the As, it was surprising tohear Jim Leyland say before Tuesdays Game 3 that his team needs to hit betterto advance.Leyland brought up the fact that his Tigers have scored only one of their eightruns in the series by way of a hit. Their first run of Game 1 came on a groundball double play and a second run scored on an error by starting pitcher JarrodParker. Alex Avilas solo home run in the seventh inning Saturday was the lonerun-scoring hit Leyland referenced.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's lose close Game 1 in Detroit
The Tigers scored five runs in Game 2, none by way of thelegitimate hit. A groundout scored the first Detroit run and a Coco Crisp errorled to two more in the seventh. The game-tying run in the eighth came across ona Ryan Cook wild pitch and the game-winning run scored on a sacrifice fly.
PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's on verge of elimination
Its hard to believe that a lineup that boasts Triple Crown winner MiguelCabrera and Prince Fielder has had to manufacture runs and take advantage of acrucial error and wild pitch. Were going to have to do better than that if we want toclose this thing out at some point, whether it be tonight, tomorrow or the nextday, Leyland said. If were going to close it out, were going to have to hitbetter, to be honest with you.The Tigers are tasked with hitting better against As left-hander BrettAnderson, whose last start came in Detroit on Sept. 19. Leyland said he had noidea what the Tigers would be up against in a well-rested Anderson.I really dont know, Leyland said. You just really dont know what toexpect, to be honest with you.Leyland said he did know what to expect from the Asoverall, however.This As team is ready to play tonight, Leyland said. Theyre down twogames to none, but theyre ready to play; their mindset is good.Leyland said he was paying attention to the As surprising run to steal theAmerican League West title away from the Texas Rangers long before he knew hisTigers would be matched up against Oakland in a playoff series.The job theyve done all year has been remarkable, Leyland said. They won 94games. Theyve had the best record in baseball for a long, long period of timenow. Its an unbelievable job whats happened here with what Billy Beane andBob Melvin have done.At Mondays workout in Oakland, Leyland and Melvin traded compliments, but theTigers skipper took it a step further before Game 3.Not to put the cart before the horse, but I hope that Buck Showalter and BobMelvin are Co-Managers of the Year this year, Leyland said. I think thiswould be a year there should be two guys that get the award.The Coliseum has been in hibernation since it rocked for Game 162 against theTexas Rangers. When the As clubhouse opened Monday, many players said theyexpected the crowd to be a factor in their first postseason home game since2006, which unfortunately comes in Game 3 for the team with home-fieldadvantage due to the new playoff format.I guarantee if you ask the guys from Texas, theyll tell you its loud, JoshDonaldson said Monday. This place is going to be rowdy.The crowd is probably the key ingredient, Brandon Ingesaid. Who wants to play in front of nobody?The atmosphere was really good in Detroit, Cliff Pennington said. Imexcited to see what we have here.Jonny Gomes said the Coliseum will be rocking and rollingand Leyland agreed.I know its loud here; its very loud, Leyland said Tuesday. Theyre goingto be out in force tonight supporting their team, which they should be. Andthey should be very proud of this team, by the way. We know this is not goingto be easy to do. Its going to be very loud, very difficult. Were playing agreat team, one that has done a wonderful, wonderful job. But thats what we dofor a living. Were here, were supposed to be able to handle that kind ofstuff.One final baseball-ism from Mr. Leyland:Its baseball and you never know how its going to play out.The As are banking on it.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

BOX SCORE

The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.

Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.

In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.

Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:

-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.

-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.

-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.

--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.

-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.

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