OAKLAND -- Brandon McCarthy will not be making his scheduled start on Sunday against the Giants. Instead, he will be hitting the disabled list. Sunday morning, the the A's will announce that River Cats' right-handed pitcher A.J. Griffin will make his Major League debut in his place. He will be opposed by Matt Cain.The news is particularly frustrating for McCarthy, who will be making another trip to the DL after returning from a previous stint on June 2. He has battled through lingering shoulder soreness over his last seven starts, three of which have come on extra rest. He is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA over that span."It sucks," McCarthy said. "The last two weeks have been about as mentally harrowing as I have had in my career. Dealing with pain every day is miserable. If I can get out on the mound I can be fine, but it's just not doing it." McCarthy has undergone multiple MRIs and the tests show no significant damage. Yet after each appearance, the pain in his right throwing shoulder lingers. "The doctor is not telling you that your arm looked like a gun went off inside of it," he said. "They are saying it is fine and it's healthy. It just doesn't feel right. It's just kind of miserable. You obsess over the pain. It's a big stressful game. It hasn't been a whole lot of fun."The 28-year-old righty mentioned possibly getting another opinion on his shoulder. He keeps being told he can pitch. He has taken short breaks of nine, 15, and 11 days off between starts this season. The longest break came when he went on the DL. At this point rest seems to be the only solution. "There's been so few answers, the frustration level just kind of goes off the charts," he said. "Nobody can look at me and say, 'This is why, let's address this.' That's how I like to handle things. You just kind of want to pull your hair out."McCarthy is in his seventh season, this will be his eighth career trip to the DL, his third in his two seasons with the As.Last year at this time, he experienced a similar problem in the shoulder. He missed the entire month of June as part of a six-week DL stint. He ended up coming back to finish the season making 16 starts after injury. "I can't keep doing this for the next three months. Let's get this done where I can make a big run of starts and be done with it." A.J. Griffin's last start came on June 19. Coincidentally, that is the last time McCarthy pitched -- so he is on turn. He is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in Sacramento. Griffin has 40 strikeouts and seven walks in 51 innings pitched. He is listed as six-foot-five, 215 pounds. Griffin, 24, isn't on the A's 40-man roster though, so another corresponding move will have to be made to clear a spot for him.
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After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.
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. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP
The A’s took a noteworthy step toward changing the narrative in their recent history against the Houston Astros.
Coming through during clutch moments, both at the plate and on the mound, Oakland beat baseball’s best team 6-4 Tuesday at Minute Maid Park to run their winning streak to four.
Ryon Healy hit his first career grand slam to snap a 1-1 tie in the sixth, and starter Sean Manaea notched his first victory in seven career starts against the Astros, throwing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
George Springer’s three-run homer off Liam Hendriks pulled Houston to within two runs in the ninth, but with two runners aboard, Santiago Casilla coaxed a 3-6-1 double play from Brian McCann to end it.
The A’s (35-42), who have stumbled so badly on the road for the majority of this season, moved to 4-0 on this six-game road trip and defeated the Astros (52-26) for just the second time in their past 17 meetings with them.
Key two-out rallies: They came in with a majors-worst .225 average with runners in scoring position, but the A’s delivered in some key at-bats and scored five of their six runs with two outs. Bruce Maxwell singled home Khris Davis in the second to get the A’s on the board. Then with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, with the score 1-1, Ryon Healy capped an eight-pitch at-bat with an opposite-field grand slam, his 18th homer of the season.
Making himself at home: Sean Manaea (7-4) flirted with danger throughout his 5 2/3 innings but wound up registering his first victory in seven career starts against Houston. He stranded two runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings, then wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth with minimal damage. With no outs and the bags filled, Manaea fell behind 3-0 to Evan Gattis. Gattis chased a low pitch that would have been ball four and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. A run scored on the play but that play defused the rally and Manaea escaped with just the one run scoring that kept it a 1-1 game. The lefty gave up nine hits, but he’s now allowed just one earned run over three career starts at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park (16 IP).
Madson comes up clutch: Ryan Madson took two losses in four appearances at Minute Maid Park last season and allowed five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. But manager Bob Melvin called on him in a crucial situation Tuesday, with two runners aboard and George Springer hitting in the sixth with the A’s up 5-1. Madson got Springer swinging on a 97 mile-per-hour fastball to end the inning and keep Houston from jumping back into the game after Oakland had scored four to command the lead. Madson retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts.
Maxwell continues his roll: The A’s catcher went 3-for-4 and is 10-for-18 since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville. He also threw out Jose Altuve trying to steal second in the first.
Casilla slams the door: After Springer’s three-run shot in the ninth, Santiago Casilla entered and allowed singles to Altuve and Carlos Correa to bring the winning run to the plate. But Casilla retired pinch hitter Josh Reddick on a foul pop out and got McCann on the game-ending double play, getting over to cover first to cap the play.