Athletics

A's optimistic despite painful loss in Detroit

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A's optimistic despite painful loss in Detroit

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DETROIT -- The 2012 Oakland Athletics have been a resilient bunch. They have managed to deflect several seemingly debilitating blows this season and continue on uninterrupted while landing a solid counterpunch. After losing Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, and now Brett Anderson to injury, they aren't down for the count, but they might have a tough time lasting much longer.
Anderson left the game after 48 pitches in the third inning with a right oblique strain. For a team that at one point had an embarrassment of pitching riches, they will be scraping to get by for the rest of the season. On Wednesday the A's lost their starting pitcher and the ballgame 6-2. It was their third consecutive loss.
RECAP: Tigers 6, A's 2
"You just have to get through it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You are never going to speed right through and win every game. There's going to be tough spots you have to work through."Anderson left the game after falling forward in his follow-through on a 2-2 pitch. He had already allowed two runs, and a third run was charged to him when one of the runners on base when he exited ended up scoring. Melvin said that Anderson was a little bit tight entering the inning.
NEWS: Anderson exits with oblique strain
"We could see a couple pitches where he was kind of stretching his back," Melvin said. "On the one he fell I am not sure it affected him that he needed to fall.""He said he tweaked his oblique a few pitches before and didn't know if it was anything," catcher Derek Norris added. "He threw a couple more pitches and said it just didn't feel right." The first two batters in the third inning reached base on back-to-back bunt singles up the first base line. It looked like Detroit manager Jim Leyland was exploiting a weakness of Anderson's. It doesn't appear the attempts to field the bunts is what hurt him. Travis Blackley will jump into the rotation. That decision was actually predetermined though, and had nothing to do with Anderson's injury. The team decided they wanted Blackley on the mound in New York against the Yankees on Saturday instead of Dan Straily who was scheduled to pitch that day. Straily will fill Anderson's spot in the rotation assuming the oblique injury keeps him out. "We just felt like matchup-wise that was the right thing to do," Melvin said. "We talked to both of those guys."Blackley is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 12 starting assignments. He says he is already getting mentally prepared to pitch in a big September game in Yankee Stadium."I'm psyched about it," Blackley said. "It's good to know you can be trusted and to take the reigns when needed. I'm trying to treat it like any other game and try to get outs." "As a kid growing up that was who you pictured yourself pitching against, the Yankees," Blackley added. "It's going to be one of those dreams come true again. I look forward to it." If the Anderson situation wasn't difficult enough to overcome the A's hitters had to face the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. The A's offense managed to get get on base in each of the six innings he pitched, and had two runners reach in each of the first three innings, but couldn't get the big hit when they needed it. "It's kind of his M.O. when he gets in trouble. He reaches back and kicks it into a different gear," Derek Norris said. "Whenever he needed to make a pitch, he made it, and whenever the defense needed to make a play, they made it. That's just how it goes sometimes." The A's left seven on base against the Tigers' ace, but were able to run up his pitch count and get him out of the game with 122 pitches through six innings of work."We did good about getting his pitch count up and getting him out of the game," Brandon Moss said. "We just weren't able to do anything against their bullpen."After Verlander exited the game, the A's still struggled to score. They missed out on a big opportunity when Seth Smith hit a leadoff double in the eighth inning. He ended up stranded on second base. Smith was also part of a base running mishap in the first inning when he got caught in a rundown between second and third after a Yoenis Cespedes single. The A's ended up rallying for two runs off Jose Valverde in the ninth inning but it was too little, too late.With the loss of Anderson, and the losses in the standings, the A's haven't exactly gotten off to an ideal start to their 10-game road trip. They say despite how it looks, it isn't time to panic yet.
RELATED: MLB standings
"Teams go through skids, we're having a little one right now," Blackley said. "We've done it all year, we've stayed in the race when people said we were going to fall out." Anderson would have been able to make three more starts before season's end. Similar to the loss of the other starting pitchers, the team will have to find a way to absorb the blow. With just 14 games left to play they won't have time to sulk. "We've got some injured guys and Coco Crisp out, potential Brett out," Melvin said. "Some of the guys are going to have to pick it up."There were no postgame updates on Crisp as he continues deals with pink eye in both of his eyes. A lot is made of how important Cespedes is to the team, but the A's are 62-43 when Crisp starts and 22-21 when he doesn't. The A's will have a chance to salvage a win in the series in a day game on Thursday. A win would provide some much-needed momentum before taking on the Yankees in New York on Friday.

After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

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After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

As the A’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Giles’ thoughts and energies are wired into the business world, helping the team plan for a new ballpark and brainstorming all ways possible to bring in more revenue.

From talking to him, you wouldn’t guess that Giles once walked away from the white-collar sports management world to pursue a country music career.

Giles left a vice president position with the 49ers in November 2015, picking up an acoustic guitar, writing and recording a three-song EP, “Party Me”, that he performed at club shows all around Northern California.

He still performs once or twice a month on the weekend. It’s quite a contrast from his Monday-thru-Friday gig, but that’s exactly the point. In the lyrics to the song “Party Me”, Giles addresses the ambition and drive required in the 9-to-5 world and the reward of blowing off steam with buddies afterward.

“It’s a hobby, I’ll always do it,” Giles shares in the latest edition of The A’s Insider Podcast. “I still play once or twice a month locally, small acoustic stuff.”

Giles grew up in Clovis and sang in talent shows as a kid before becoming a high school wrestler.

“Randy Travis was my favorite as a kid,” he said. “I can remember writing his lyrics on construction paper and giving it to girls on the playground.”

Giles’ career in sales and marketing eventually led him to the 49ers, where he became VP of sales and strategy and played an instrumental role in the opening of Levi’s Stadium. He oversaw premium sales, seat license sales, concessions and retail among other responsibilities.

But he never lost his desire to pursue a music career.

“It was one of those things where I felt like if I didn’t give it a try, then I would always just regret it,” said Giles, who is married with three kids. “I enjoy writing songs, I love playing live. I was running around with a couple other artists, we were collaborating on a couple things. It just seemed like a logical point to give it a go.”

He eventually returned to the sports world with the NFL, running sales and marketing efforts for Super Bowl LI. But it’s his experience with the launch of Levi’s Stadium that appears to make him an especially good fit with the A’s, who plan to announce by the end of the calendar year a location in Oakland to build a new ballpark.

Opening a new stadium is one thing. Finding ways to maximize revenue from that venue is another, and that’s where Giles’ expertise factors in. He’s got an instrumental voice in how the ballpark will be designed and what features it will include.

He came aboard in an advisory role for A’s president Dave Kaval in March and was named the team’s COO in early July. Joining the franchise at this point, with so many ambitious plans for the future, is energizing to him.

“I think we’re approaching a rocket ship that’s sitting on the ground,” Giles said. “We’re not quite sure which rocket boosters work, but we know we’ve got a rocket ship. Our job is to make sure we tune that thing up and get it ready to go.”

A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

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A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

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OAKLAND -- Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth after Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Athletics 7-6 on Wednesday.

Alcides Escobar doubled to start the ninth against Blake Treinen (1-1), matching his season high with three hits. Then Gordon delivered his second run-scoring single of the series finale.

Oakland's Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth against Brandon Maurer (1-1), who wound up the winner.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Danny Duffy struck out eight over five innings but the Royals couldn't hold a late lead again before holding on - a day after squandering a four-run advantage in a 10-8 defeat.

Cain added a key RBI single in the eighth for the Royals, who began the day tied with Minnesota six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Kelvin Herrera finished for his 26th save in 29 chances after allowing Ryon Healy's two-out infield single.

Duffy's winless stretch reached four outings since a victory at Detroit on July 25. The left-hander earned his first major league win at Oakland on June 14, 2011, and has never lost to the A's - 3-0 in seven career appearances and six starts - but hasn't beaten them since April 10, 2012.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the third and Oakland got back in it on Jed Lowrie's two-run single in the fifth.

Kansas City's Melky Cabrera fouled a ball off his leg in the third and went down writhing in pain before recovering to hit a single on the very next pitch to load the bases with no outs. But Blackburn struck out Mike Moustakas and induced an inning-ending double play from Brandon Moss to escape unscathed.

A's starter Paul Blackburn was tagged for eight hits and four runs in four innings of his first career start against Kansas City, striking out two and walking three.

MINOR LEAGUE TRADE

The A's acquired lefty Sam Moll from Colorado for a player to be named later or cash then optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. Oakland added right-hander Chris Hatcher to the 25-man roster and he made his A's debut in the sixth inning, a day after coming to Oakland in a trade from the Dodgers. The A's optioned righty Josh Smith to Nashville and designated righty Zach Neal for assignment to clear 40-man roster space to add Moll.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Joakim Soria - who allowed four straight hits in the eighth inning Tuesday night - is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday after stiffness in his lat and ribcage area to determine when he can pitch again. The reliever showed up to the Coliseum with discomfort. "He's been battling with it for two weeks, he's been pitching through it, he's been pitching very effectively through it," manager Ned Yost said. "But after last night he showed up more so than usual."

Athletics: Josh Phegley (strained left oblique) was slated to catch five or six innings in a rehab game for Triple-A Nashville at Tacoma. ... OF Jake Smolinski, on the disabled list since March 30 recovering from right shoulder surgery, isn't expected to be able to play in the outfield until "well into September," manager Bob Melvin said.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.80 ERA) starts Friday at home against the first-place Indians trying to snap a 14-start winless stretch at Kaufmann Stadium since a victory vs. Minnesota on Aug. 20 last year.

Athletics: Following Thursday's day off, LHP Sean Manaea (8-7, 4.59) starts at Houston on Friday looking to end a five-start winless stretch in which he's 0-2 since beating Cleveland on July 16.