A's lineup: Cespedes returns

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A's lineup: Cespedes returns

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's Pregame Live begins at 5:00 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by A's-Rockies at 5:40, and A's Postgame Live immediately after the final out.A's lineup (27-35)Weeks, 2B
Cowgill, CF
Smith RF
Cespedes LF
Inge 3B
Donaldson C
Moss 1B
Pennington SS
Milone LHP
Instant AnalysisYoenis Cespedes returns to the lineup after straining his left hamstring on Thursday against the Rangers. He has missed 27 games this season, and the A's struggle without him. With Cespedes in the lineup, the A's are 19-16, compared to 8-19 without him. Cespedes will be back in left field, with Collin Cowgill playing center field. Playing in a corner outfield spot should limit the amount of running he will have to do. The A's slugging outfielder has six hits in his last six plate appearances, which hasn't been done since Mark Ellis did it in 2006. The A's record for consecutive plate appearances with a hit is seven. Noticeably absent from the lineup card is right fielder Josh Reddick. He is likely getting routine rest. He hasn't had a game off in a while, and hasn't hit a home run in the month of June, after hitting 10 in May. Top of the orderJemile Weeks went 2 for 4 on Tuesday. He is hitting .302 (19-63) over his last 16 games. He is hitting .429 on breaking pitches in the month of June.Cowgill returns to the A's lineup after sitting for a while in favor of veteran center fielder Coco Crisp. When in the lineup, Cowgill has impressed, hitting .359 (14-39) over his last 11 games. Heart of the orderSeth Smith moves up to the third spot in the lineup. Batting Smith third against a left-handed pitcher appears to be a big leap of faith for A's manager Bob Melvin. Smith is typically a platoon player, and he is only hitting .217 against left-handed pitching this season, while hitting .273 against right-handers. The former Colorado outfielder has been on a tear lately, batting .542 (13 for 24) with four doubles, one triple, one homer, and seven RBIs over his last seven games. He has a five-game hitting streak. Cespedes is batting fourth, with Brandon Inge batting fifth. Inge has a .500 on-base percentage over his last eight games. He is the only hitter in the A's lineup that has faced Outman, going 0 for 1 against him. Bottom of the orderKurt Suzuki gets a day off, with Josh Donaldson catching. Brandon Moss who hit the first third-deck homer of the season in Colorado on Tuesday is in the lineup batting seventh. Moss has four hits since joining the A's one week ago, three of them are home runs.Tommy Milone is the most effective hitter in the A's pitching rotation. Last year with the Nationals, he hit a three-run homer in his first career at-bat. He also got a two-run hit against the Diamondbacks in his first at-bat with the A's. Colorado Rockies (24-36) lineupNote: Carlos Gonzalez is not in the llneupFowler CF
Scutaro SS
Colvin LF
Cuddyer RF
Helton 1B
Pacheco 3B
Rosario C
Nelson 2B
Outman LHP

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

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Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.

Manaea's 'big mentality switch' keys success in first Yankee Stadium start

Manaea's 'big mentality switch' keys success in first Yankee Stadium start

NEW YORK — Dealt another dose of injury bad news Friday, the A’s got to temporarily push those thoughts aside once Sean Manaea took the mound.

The big lefty shined in his first career outing at Yankee Stadium, matching Masahiro Tanaka pitch for pitch and spinning his best start of the season in a 4-1 A’s victory.

After he walked leadoff man Brett Gardner on four pitches in the first, it conjured up memories of his five-walk outing two starts ago at Seattle. But from that point on Manaea locked in, allowing just four hits over seven innings and striking out eight. Not a single Yankee advanced past second base against him.

“He was out there chucking,” A’s left fielder Khris Davis said. “He’s got that Chris Sale stuff where people are swinging and missing in the zone. It’s great to see that.”

The day began with news that Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman and fellow starter Jesse Hahn both are likely headed to the disabled list with shoulder and triceps strains, respectively. It continues the cycle of injury woes for the A’s, who have lost every starter except Andrew Triggs to at least one stint on the 10-day DL. With two-fifths of the rotation down for an unknown period of time, Manaea takes on an even more significant role.

“For a young guy we’ve leaned on him pretty hard since he’s gotten here, but now probably a little bit more so,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Yet no matter what is unfolding elsewhere on the pitching staff, the challenge for Manaea always stems from within. He’s talked often this season about the need to be mentally tougher and more aggressive attacking the strike zone. After the leadoff walk to Gardner, Manaea (3-3) said a switch flipped inside of him.

“I was thinking that these guys weren’t gonna hit me at all, and that I just needed to throw strikes and trust the defense,” he said. “I know I can get these guys out. To me it was a big mentality switch, and just believing in myself and trusting everything.”

Tanaka, who has disappointed this season to the tune of a 6.56 ERA entering Friday, put it together against Oakland and rang up a career-high 13 strikeouts without a single walk. But Manaea was more than up to the task, keeping New York off the board until the A’s scored twice in the eighth to snap a scoreless tie off former Athletic Tyler Clippard, who relieved Tanaka to start that inning.

“He was pitching with a lot of confidence, and that’s what I love to see,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said of Manaea. “He wants the ball, wanted to keep going out there. It was awesome.”