Athletics

Matt Olson homers twice, A's rally, but fall to Angels in extras

Matt Olson homers twice, A's rally, but fall to Angels in extras

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia had no idea he called upon an American League-record 12 pitchers to win on Labor Day.

"Both teams or us?" he asked. "If I had needed a couple more innings, we would have used probably 13 or 14. Hopefully not too often."

Instead of extending the game Monday, Kole Calhoun delivered with a two-run triple in the 11th inning as the Angels outlasted the Oakland Athletics 11-9.

Fernando Salas (1-0), the ninth Angels pitcher, tossed a perfect 10th for the victory. Keynan Middleton came in as the third pitcher of the 11th and got his third career save as Los Angeles tried to move up in the wild-card race.

"That's big. It takes momentum into tomorrow," Calhoun said.

The A's have lost as season-high seven in a row.

Three Angels pitchers didn't record an out. The 12 pitchers overall topped the previous AL mark of 11 done four times, most recently by Tampa Bay in 2013. The Colorado Rockies set a major league record by using 13 pitchers in 2015 during a 16-inning game.

"Thank God for September," said Jesse Chavez, who pitched the fourth for Los Angeles and praised the versatile staff. "That just goes back to how we are in spring training. ... We don't let anybody feel neglected."

Angels star Mike Trout fouled a ball off his lower right leg in the 11th but stayed in the game after being checked by Scioscia and a trainer.

Matt Olson homered twice for Oakland, including a tying, two-run drive with two outs in the ninth against Blake Parker.

"Losing a game like that isn't fun by any means," Olson said. "But it says something the way we stayed in that game the entire time, still fighting in the bottom of the 11th right there."

Blake Treinen (1-3) gave up Calhoun's go-ahead hit.

Martin Maldonado hit two home runs for the Angels, his second multihomer game this season. Luis Valbuena added a three-run drive.

Albert Pujols had three hits and drove in a run. He has 12 RBIs over his last five games and 23 in the past 21.

While Los Angeles starter Parker Birdwell didn't get a decision while pitching into the fourth, the Angels improved to 14-2 in his outings this year.

Khris Davis hit a three-run double and Bruce Maxwell added an RBI single in the first inning to A's starter Chris Smith a nice cushion. But Smith couldn't hold the lead, and has surrendered 10 home runs over his last five starts.

A's hitting coach Darren Bush was ejected in the fifth after Matt Chapman was called out on strikes.

GOING THE DISTANCE:
The Angels' last four games have gone: 4 hours, 33 minutes, 4:09, 3:49 and 4:38 Monday. The club will have optional batting practice Tuesday "so they can regroup, rebound," Scioscia said.

HELPING HAND:
Chavez made a thoughtful pregame gesture on his way to the field to throw in warmups: He carried a load of food for Diamond Level concession worker Connie Burgin, who called the former A's player a "sweetie." She said she didn't ask for assistance, he kindly offered. After the game, Chavez noted that his long arms were an asset in this situation and he saw that the woman was trying to pick up the large tray.

"He's the best," Scioscia said.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Angels: RHP Bud Norris threw a bullpen session as he works back from his second stint on the disabled list with right knee inflammation. He could be activated as soon as Wednesday when eligible. ... 3B Yunel Escobar took some swings as part of his rehab from a strained right oblique. ... The Angels claimed RHP Dayan Diaz from the Astros and designated for assignment RHP Daniel Wright to clear room on the 40-man roster. Diaz was optioned to rookie-level Orem.

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn, on the DL since Aug. 23 with a bruised pitching hand, might not play again this season given the bone bruise is deep enough it's comparable to a fracture. Blackburn is set to compete for a rotation spot in spring training 2018, manager Bob Melvin said.

UP NEXT:
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start of the year five months to the day after an April 5 outing at Oakland in which he strained his right biceps muscle in his season debut. He is expected to throw just 50 pitches.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (4-4, 4.54) had a no-decision against the Angels on the road his last time out in a 10-8 loss last Wednesday.

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

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USATI

Could Franklin Barreto get a look in center field for A's?

Don’t count out top prospect Franklin Barreto as a possibility for the A’s in center field.

It’s long been speculated that the middle infielder might eventually get a look in center, and the idea has at least been discussed in team circles. It’s tied partially to whether the A’s exercise their $6 million club option on Jed Lowrie and bring him back as their regular second baseman in 2018.

Regardless, the battle to be Oakland’s everyday center fielder will be one of the A’s most intriguing storylines next spring. Grady Fuson, a special assistant to general manager David Forst who spends much of the season evaluating the team’s farm system, discussed several of the team’s center field options in the latest A’s Insider Podcast.

So much revolves around the health of 22-year-old Dustin Fowler, one of three prospects the A’s received from the Yankees for Sonny Gray. He’ll spend the winter continuing to rehab from a devastating knee injury suffered in his very first major league game in June while still with New York.

The A’s are hopeful he’ll be ready for spring training and believe he can be a solution in center.

“Fowler certainly is the guy we made this trade for, and I think everybody, top to bottom, in the system is counting on him taking that spot,” Fuson said. “But we all know he’s been hurt. How he comes back, who knows? Boog (Powell’s) been doing a very good job for us. And there’s other options.”

The 21-year-old Barreto, who has split time between second and short this season at Triple-A and with the big club, played some center in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015. He’s always talked with enthusiasm about the idea.

The A’s experimented with another highly touted young infielder, Yairo Munoz, in center field in the minors this season.

“(We’ve) had discussions about taking Munoz out there, which we’ve done,” Fuson said. “We’ve had discussions about maybe Franklin Barreto, depending on what happens at second here at end of the year, over the winter, and early in camp.”

Lowrie has enjoyed a very strong season with Oakland, and A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has said the team is seriously considering picking up his option. Having Barreto be an option in center could be a way to keep him in the majors in 2018 even if Lowrie returns at second base.

Fuson stressed that the idea of Barreto in center hasn’t advanced past the early-discussion phase. No decisions have been made.

What’s interesting is that, in a short time, the A’s have gone from scarce few center field options to suddenly having several. Powell and Fowler may enter the spring as front runners, but Munoz, Jaycob Brugman, Chad Pinder, Jake Smolinski and, perhaps, Barreto may all have a shot too.

The A’s also used their first-round pick in June on high school center fielder Austin Beck, who represents another option down the road.

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

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USATSI

Bob Melvin provides update on Bruce Maxwell after 'pretty good shot' to face

A's catcher Bruce Maxwell has a history with foul tips and concussion concerns, so there was cause for concern after he took a direct shot during Wednesday's game against the Tigers.

With one out in the ninth inning, Tigers shortstop fouled a ball square into Maxwell's facemask. The A's catcher immediately fell backwards. As manager Bob Melvin and the team trainer checked on him, he appeared dazed and rubbed his eyes. In an attempt to try to stay in the game, reliever Liam Hendriks tossed two warmup pitches. Maxwell missed the first one, but even after he caught the second one, it was clear he wasn't right and was removed from the game.

Afterwards, Melvin was asked about Maxwell's status.

"He went through all the protocol. It doesn't look like a concussion at this point. We'll probably know more in the next couple of days," Melvin told reporters in Detroit. "Took a pretty good shot. More sore on his face because of where the impact was, which was right in the middle of his face."

Josh Phegley replaced Maxwell for the final two outs of the game. Hendriks managed to close out the 3-2 win for the A's.