A's lineup: Reddick in, Crisp out

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A's lineup: Reddick in, Crisp out

The Oakland A's are looking to cap their road trip with a series sweep against the Baltimore Orioles. With their win on Saturday the A's reached 10 games over .500, have won nine of their last 10, and are just 3.5 games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West. In case they don't catch Texas, the A's are in sole possession of first place for the A.L. Wild Card. Oakland Athletics 55-45 lineupJemile Weeks, 2B
Jonny Gomes, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Chris Carter, 1B
Brandon Inge, 3B
Derek Norris, C
Seth Smith, LF
Brandon Hicks, SS
Instant AnalysisGood news and bad news. Josh Reddick is back in the lineup in right field, but Coco Crisp is out with left hamstring tightness. That shifts Yoenis Cespedes to his natural outfield position of center field and Seth Smith over to left field. The A's are again facing a left-handed pitcher -- they have faced five in their last six games. Top of the OrderJemile Weeks moves back up to the leadoff spot with Crisp out of the lineup. Weeks got his first three-hit game of 2012 on Saturday. He recorded three hits on 13 different occasions in his rookie season -- even collecting four hits in a game once. Maybe moving back into the leadoff spot, even if only temporary, will spark him. The A's offense is rolling but the middle infield spots have been rather unproductive. Weeks possesses the skills to be very effective at the plate, he just hasn't broken out yet in his sophomore season. If he can get rolling this offense could be dynamic. Heart of the OrderReddick vs. R.F. Wall - II: The Reddick-tribtion. Reddick is back in his customary spot in the lineup and in the outfield, after a scary collision with the right field wall on Friday night. After being handed a Spiderman suit on Saturday the energetic outfielder might be better served climbing the wall rather than plowing into it full speed. Reddick is a key component to the A's in all facets of the game. Losing him could be a catastrophic blow. Yoenis Cespedes continues to be a one-man wrecking crew. Since the All-Star Break he is batting .439 with five homers, 17 RBIs, four doubles, one triple and two stolen bases. He also made a crazy ranging catch in center field last night. Cespedes has missed 32 games this year and he still leads the A's with 53 RBIs. Bottom of the OrderDerek Norris is starting at catcher again. This season he has struggled against offspeed pitches and breaking pitches -- a common problem for rookies. Here's his breakdown by pitch (AVGpercent seen): Fastball: .26353.36, Breaking Ball: .09536.68, Changeup: .1437.96. He'll have to make adjustments as the league takes notice and starts feeding him a steady diet of pitches with movement. Starting PitchersThe A's will go for the sweep in Baltimore with Travis Blackley (3-2, 2.69 ERA) on the mound. The Australian-born lefty is 3-0 in his last seven starts. They will be opposed by the sixth left-handed pitcher in their last seven games -- Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.82 ERA). Chen has lost one game in his last three starts.

Report: A's bringing back former slugger first baseman

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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.