Oakland's road warriors head home

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Oakland's road warriors head home

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ARLINGTON -- The boys will be back in town. After a brutal stretch of games that featured 17 of 20 on the road, and a three-game pit stop in Oakland that felt more like a part of the road trip than a homestand, the most difficult stretch of the season is over. Oakland won 12 of the 20 games over the most critical juncture of the season. They head home with a chance to lock down their first postseason berth since 2006. "We do know that we've gotten to the end of a long tough trip and now we get to go home for the final six," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's encouraging for us that we did battle through this thing and we are still in a good position."The A's wouldn't end up heading home with a win after losing 9-7 to the Rangers, but the Angels' 9-4 loss against the Mariners did drop Oakland's magic number to clinch a spot in the American League Wild Card game to five. The first inning pretty much decided the game for the A's. Oakland got runners on the corners with one out but Chris Carter grounded into an inning-ending double play. Travis Blackley stepped on the mound and allowed a solo home run to Ian Kinsler on the second pitch he threw, and ended up allowing five runs to score on five hits in just one inning of work. It was the worst start of the season for Blackley. "Honestly I don't know what's going on," Blackley said. "I feel pretty good before the game I am hitting my spots and keeping it down, get out there and I'm just not finding it where I'm wanting it. Kind of running out of ideas on what to do." Blackley has allowed nine runs, seven earned, in his last two starts while lasting three innings. He was visibly frustrated with his performance and even took to Twitter after the game to issue an apology to the fans. "There's no excuses," Blackley said. "I am doing everything I can to be ready for a start between the start and I'm not sure what's going on." The A's bats did their best to get back in the game after falling behind by five runs. Oakland clubbed five home runs, three in the eighth inning, to get back into the game. The biggest homers of the day belonged to Josh Reddick, who snapped an 0-for-30 skid on Wednesday, then blasted his 30th and 31st home runs on Thursday. His second homer of the day made it a two-run game. "It's a great personal accomplishment," Reddick said. "Never did I think I'd do that this year, but the important thing is we're a team and where we are at right now is the big picture."Reddick's struggles were likely due to him pressing at the plate a bit as he tried to get to the 30-homer milestone. After hitting his 29th home run on Sept. 16, he hit .128 (5-for-39) with zero RBIs until smashing No. 30 a distance of 399 feet into the second deck in right field."That hadn't really been on my mind," Reddick said. "The big thing wasn't about hitting 30, it was obviously about helping the team win. I put that in the back of my mind and felt like if I don't think about it then it's going to happen eventually." "We thought get one out of the way, get 30 out of the way, and then he'd be off to the races," Melvin said. "Our group, it didn't look good early and to battle back like we did, you know every game we continue to battle like that. We are never out of a game." Brandon Moss hit his 20th homer of the season and Yoenis Cespedes hit No. 22 on the year. Moss' homer gave the A's three 20-home run hitters for the first time since 2006 when Frank Thomas (39), Nick Swisher (35) and Eric Chavez (22) accomplished the feat. Derek Norris also added a two-run homer in the fourth inning. It was only the fourth time in Oakland history the A's lost after hitting five home runs. "We do have a lot of power on the team, everybody one through nine has pop." Moss said. "We could easily have four or five 20-home run guys with Carter and Jonny Gomes right there at it too."The A's bullpen had to shoulder the innings load again on Thursday. Five pitchers combined for seven innings and allowed four runs. Jeremy Accardo made his A's debut and allowed two runs in the fourth inning, but pitched a scoreless fifth frame. He may have been a little rusty, seeing as how he just joined the team last weekend and hadn't pitched since Aug. 16 in Triple-A. Jesse Chavez had his first scoreless outing for the A's after allowing seven runs in his first three appearances. The A's have three games against the Mariners this weekend and then take on the Rangers for the final three games. With the win, Texas is back to four games ahead of Oakland in the American League West and their magic number to clinch the division is three. The Rangers have three games against the Angels, who are two games behind the A's in the standings, so there will be a considerable amount of scoreboard watching going on this weekend.

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

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USATSI

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

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The A's powered past the Mets Sunday in New York with three solo home runs to leave the Big Apple without getting swept in a 3-2 win. 

Marcus Semien, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman all went deep. 

Rookie Daniel Gossett allowed just two earned runs over six innings pitched. 

The A's are now 44-54 on the season.

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.