PIE-derman and the A's walk-off for the 13th time

835277.jpg

PIE-derman and the A's walk-off for the 13th time

OAKLAND -- Around midnight things start getting loopy at the Oakland Coliseum. As the crowd of 30,169 started thinning out, the loyal people that did stay were treated to fireworks, the A's MLB-leading 13th walk-off win, and a pie-slinging Spiderman -- or PIEderman rather. Yup, you read that last sentence correctly. After Coco Crisp ended the game in the bottom of the 15th with a sacrifice fly to score Jemile Weeks, he was showered with two coolers, and then wore two pies like earmuffs delivered by a costumed hero who's hidden identity must have been Josh Reddick. "Today it was a little different because we had costumes involved," Crisp said after the A's 5-4 win. "I don't know how to respond to that one quite yet. We'll see what the critics have to say because that is new to baseball right there."Weeks was in position to score because he led off the inning with a ringing triple down the right field line. Mercifully, Crisp wasted no time driving him home on a 1-1 fastball that he hit just deep enough to center field. One run was enough to win the game in the bottom of the 15th, because in the top of the 15th Eric Sogard made a spectacular ranging play to save a run. With two runners on base he scooped up the ball backhanded then flipped it to third baseman Brandon Inge for the force out. Instead of the go-ahead run scoring it ended up being an inning-ending play. "Not only did it save the game it gave us momentum coming back into the dugout," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It juiced us up a little bit. When he made that play we came into the dugout and Weeks right away lines the ball over the first baseman's head for a triple."The story of the game was supposed to be Dan Straily making his Major League debut, by the time the game ended that was yesterday's news. Straily threw six innings, allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly, and struck out five batters. With his family and friends in attendance and a packed crowd at the Coliseum -- needless to say he was a little worked up before the game."I didn't throw a strike in my warmups I was just all over the place," Straily said. "It's been a surreal experience. Something that's been a dream come true, having my debut night be a walk-off win could not have been any better. Got pretty much every experience possible tonight." Fortunately Straily settled down when the game started. He fired a first pitch strike to Brett Lawrie then finished him off by striking him out looking on a fastball. He got a game ball for his first pitch and for his first strikeout. He said he and his fiance Amanda will treasure the keepsakes. Straily didn't get his first career win because Jeff Mathis hit a game-tying walk-off homer in the ninth inning off Ryan Cook. The A's All-Star closer has now allowed six runs in his last six games. His six blown saves are tied for the most in the American League. In the end all it ended up costing the A's was a few hours of sleep. The A's are 58-48, back to 10 games over .500 and one and a half games ahead of the Angels for the top A.L. Wild Card spot. After a day in which the team made five roster moves, the shell shocked A's brushed it off and went back to work. Fortunately they didn't forget the Reddi-wip in their lunch boxes. Injury AlertYoenis Cespedes left the game with a sprained right wrist. "He's day to day, not sure," Melvin said of Cespedes. "He is probably doubtful for tomorrow."

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

OAKLAND — The A’s officially welcomed John Axford back into their bullpen fold Sunday, and they got some encouraging news about another reliever.

Sean Doolittle was expected to only throw a flat-ground session before the series finale against Boston, but he wound up throwing 15 pitches off the mound as well. That’s the first time Doolittle has thrown from the mound since joining the disabled list May 3 with a strained left shoulder. Next up is a 25-pitch session off the mound Wednesday.

The early indications are that Doolittle’s current shoulder woes aren’t as severe as the ailments that sidelined him for major portions of the past two seasons.

Axford was reinstated from the 10-day DL Saturday for his own shoulder strain, but his season debut came Sunday, when he handled the eighth inning and allowed one run. He was sidelined during the season-opening series against the Angels when he hurt his shoulder while warming up in the bullpen.

**

All indications are that first baseman Yonder Alonso will be available to return to the lineup Tuesday for the opener of a two-game interleague series against the Miami Marlins. A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Sunday’s game that he considered Alonso as potentially being available off the bench. Given the A’s are off Monday, it’s reasonable to assume Alonso will be ready Tuesday when the Marlins start right-hander Jose Urena on the mound.

**

The A’s are plenty familiar with Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland from his days with division rival Texas. But Moreland continues to do damage against Oakland even though he’s out of the AL West. Moreland’s two-run homer in the sixth off Andrew Triggs marked his third homer of the four-game series, and his 19th homer in 80 career games against the A’s. That’s his most homers against any major league club.

**

The run Axford allowed in the eighth snapped a streak of 27 scoreless innings at home by the A’s bullpen. Josh Smith allowed five runs in the ninth.

A's denied sweep of Red Sox but still come away feeling good

A's denied sweep of Red Sox but still come away feeling good

OAKLAND — The A’s opted for the big-picture takeaway from their four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

They won three of four from a team expected to be a major player for an American League postseason berth, though the weekend’s final chapter didn’t play out as planned.

Oakland surrendered 15 hits and committed three errors in a 12-3 drubbing by the Red Sox that prevented the A’s first four-game home sweep of Boston in 85 years.

If anything, Sunday’s rout proved how an aggressive base running team like Boston can exploit the A’s weaknesses when they play their ‘Mr. Hyde’ version of defense. The Sox stole four bases and gladly took an extra 90 feet whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The first three games of this series featured some nice defensive moments for the A’s, but Sunday they reverted to some bad habits, pushing their major league-high error total to 42.

“It gets you off to a slow start, and there’s a psychology to not playing good defense,” manager Bob Melvin said. “… It costs you when you don’t play good defense. It kind of permeates in the dugout and you know you’ve got some work to do offensively off a pretty tough pitcher.”

Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1), who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a September game at the Coliseum, went eight innings Sunday and held the A’s to three runs, striking out eight.

Still, as the A’s broke for a rare day off in the middle of a homestand, Melvin wanted to make sure he delivered a message to his team:

“It was a good series,” he said. “Enjoy the off-day. Coming in here, if you say give us 3 out of 4 (against) them, you’ll take it. Granted, once you win three games you wanna get greedy and win the last game.”

Andrew Triggs (5-4) didn’t have his sharpest outing, allowing five earned runs and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, but he sure wasn’t helped in the field. The tone was set in the first, when Dustin Pedroia blooped a single to right field and Mark Canha’s throw back to the infield was wide of everybody. That allowed Mookie Betts to score all the way from first. In the fifth, Betts was running on the pitch, from first base, and motored all the way around to score on Pedroia’s perfectly executed hit-and-run.

That was the inning that Triggs said he regretted after the game. Chad Pinder’s two-run homer in the fourth had given the A’s a 3-2 lead, only to have Boston come right back the next inning and jump back ahead.

“It was a really good series,” Triggs said. “I’m just frustrated that I wasn’t able to put an exclamation point on it.”

The last time the A’s completed a four-game home series sweep of Boston came exactly 85 years ago Sunday. That was in 1932 — the year Babe Ruth “called his shot” against the Cubs in the World Series — when the A’s still played their home games at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.