Morning trade 'put a little fire' under A's as they complete sweep

Morning trade 'put a little fire' under A's as they complete sweep

OAKLAND — Sean Manaea is in just his second major league season, but he’s wise in the ways of the A’s ever-changing roster.

Manaea was around last summer when the A’s dealt away Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Dodgers at the trade deadline. It wasn’t easy to see another pair of teammates go Sunday morning, as Oakland dealt relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals, but at least Manaea could view it with some perspective.

He sensed the A’s cranked up the intensity a notch when they took the field Sunday afternoon looking to complete a sweep of the Cleveland Indians.

“Seeing that news kind of put a little fire under everybody,” Manaea said.

It’s a funny twist that on a weekend that brought a major trade and rumblings of more moves to come, the A’s played some of their best baseball of the season. They secured that sweep of the defending American League champs with a 7-3 victory at the Coliseum, helped along by Manaea’s seven strong innings and a four-run outburst in the first inning.

“Whenever you say goodbye to a couple guys like that, certainly there’s some sentiment that runs through the clubhouse,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “I think the runs early in the game were really important for us.”

The A’s outscored the Indians 17-6 over the three games. Their pitchers allowed just 17 hits combined and their defense — which has committed a major league-high 79 errors — had just one over the entire series.

If Manaea’s theory is correct, it has to be encouraging for Melvin that the A’s responded in a positive way on the field after the morning trade. Surely more deals are on deck before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Starter Sonny Gray is a particularly hot name in the rumor mill and All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso and second baseman Jed Lowrie also are prime candidates to be dealt to contenders.

Manaea said waving goodbye to Doolittle and Madson was no small thing. Both are respected veterans — Doolittle being the only player left on the roster who had been on all three of the A’s postseason teams of 2012-14, and Madson a sage pitching presence who owns two World Series rings.

“I really felt their presence in the clubhouse, on the plane,” Manaea said. “It’s going to be hard to fill those shoes, but I think this team is headed in the right direction and it’s just an exciting time right now.”

Melvin stayed with Manaea in the seventh, with his pitch count soaring past 100 and two runners aboard with Oakland up 5-2. Manaea struck out Brandon Guyer with men on the corners to finish his outing at 115 pitches.

With the trade of two late-inning relievers, Melvin said he’s likely to lean on his starters a bit more heavily. But Sunday’s decision to stick with Manaea also reflected his rising confidence in the lefty, who is benefiting from an improved slider that’s giving him a true three-pitch mix with his fastball and changeup.

With more veterans likely to depart, young players will be asked to step up more, and Manaea is one of the leaders of that pack.

“He’s a guy that’s up for that now, and has matured into that role,” Melvin said. “He’s got 113 or whatever it is pitches, but at that point in time that was his game. I think he takes away a lot from that too.”

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.