A's lineup: Carter, Moss can coexist

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A's lineup: Carter, Moss can coexist

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's Pregame Live begins at 6:30 on CSN California, followed by A's-Rangers, and A's Postgame Live immediately after the final out.

OAKLAND -- At 9-1 in July the A's are one of the hottest teams in baseball. With the American League West-leading Texas Rangers in town, Oakland is beginning a season- defining stretch of games. The A's are starting to look the part of a contender, but they'll have to prove they can hang with the big boys in the A.L. as they play two games against the Rangers, and four against the Yankees on this homestand.A's (46-43)
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Seth Smith, LF
Josh Reddick, CF
Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Brandon Moss, RF
Chris Carter, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Brandon Inge, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS
Instant AnalysisThe first thing that jumps out about Bob Melvin's lineup card is that Seth Smith is batting second again. With Coco Crisp bothered by a sore shoulder, the A's have been able to get Smith and Jonny Gomes time in the two-spot. Smith is a perfect two-hitter. He has a .361 on-base percentage, and walks in 13.1 percent of his plate appearances. I also like that Chris Carter and Brandon Moss are both in the lineup. I've been of the opinion that Carter shouldn't be platooned, and Moss deserves to be in there daily as well. They both provide serious pop. Last time they were both in the starting lineup they each went yard. The only A's batters that have faced Roy Oswalt are Seth Smith and Brandon Moss. Smith is 2 for 9 with two strikeouts against the veteran righty, and Moss is 1 for 8 with three strikeouts. Top of the OrderJemile Weeks is leading off again. He seems to be comfortable in that spot. He is also heating up a little bit, going 10 for 31 with five runs scored over his last seven games. Heart of the OrderYoenis Cespedes seems to have taken nicely to the designated hitter role. In his 13 games as the DH he is batting .346 (18 for 52) with four homers and 13 RBI. The Cuban-slugger is batting .571 (8 for 14), with two homers and a 1.643 OPS since the All-Star break. He is also batting .500 (14-28) with four doubles, a homer, and seven RBI against the Rangers this season. He could be primed to have a big series.
Bottom of the OrderThe A's will need some production out of the bottom of the order. Kurt Suzuki is starting to heat up, he is batting .400 (4 for 10) in his last three games. Brandon Inge has been struggling offensively with 21 strikeouts in his last 15 games. Cliff Pennington is batting .120 (6 for 50) over his last 17 games.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

Former A's catcher Stephen Vogt claimed by NL Central team

A new team believes in Stephen Vogt.

The former A's catcher, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, was claimed by the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

The A's announced the transaction shortly before their game against the White Sox.

News of the Brewers making the waiver claim was first reported by ESPN.

The Brewers were the only team to place a waiver claim on Vogt, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vogt, a clubhouse leader and one of the longest tenured A's, hit just .217 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games this season.