Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 5, Orioles 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 5, Orioles 2

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OAKLAND -- The A's gloves and jerseys were golden on Saturday night. They defeated Baltimore 5-2 to win the season series and now are ensured home field advantage if they end the season tied with the Orioles atop the Wild Card standings. Coupled with the Rangers' loss on Saturday, the A's are now two games behind Texas in the American League West and a season-high 23 games over .500. At the PlateAll of the A's runs scored in a five-run, 10-batter rally against Orioles' starting pitcher Zach Britton in the third inning. Stephen Drew got the scoring started with a solo homer to right field, his second for Oakland this season. He ended up striking out to end the inning. Josh Reddick went opposite field poking an RBI single to where the shortstop would have been standing if the shift wasn't on. Reddick's 76th RBI made it a 2-0 game. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a sharp RBI single up the middle driving in Jonny Gomes who was hit by a pitch. Chris Carter followed with a two-run oppositie field double scoring Reddick and Cespedes. When Carter hit the ball, Cespedes got such a good read and was running so fast that he almost blew right past Reddick on the base paths. When the dust settled from the A's offensive explosion it was a 5-2 game and Britton had thrown 38 pitches in the inning. Reddick added a double in the seventh inning, then advanced to third on a wild pitch during an intentional walk to Cespedes. Carter drew a walk to load the bases. The A's couldn't add on to their lead though. Josh Donaldson popped out to right and Derek Norris hit a foul pop up to third to end the inning. Starting Pitching ReportJarrod Parker fell behind early but didn't falter. He lasted seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He won his 11th game of the season. Parker was charged with an error after a pickoff throw got past Carter in the second inning allowing Jones to race to third. He scored with ease when Mark Reynolds hit a double down the left field line to make it 1-0. He gave up a solo homer in the third inning to leadoff hitter Nate McLouth on a fastball. That was all the damage that was done against Parker. The rookie starting pitcher benefitted greatly from some slick glove work in the fourth frame. Adam Jones hit a leadoff single and Chris Davis followed with a double but Jones was gunned down at home on the play. After the defensive effort, Parker retired 11 of the next 13 batters. Bullpen ReportSean Doolittle pitched a hitless eighth inning and struck out one. Grant Balfour entered with a three run lead in the ninth inning looking for his 19th save of the season. He gave up a hit and a walk but escaped unscathed for the save. In the FieldThe A's picked up where they left off Friday night by turning a double play in the first inning. The Orioles have grounded into five double plays in this series. In the second inning Drew made a smart decision that followed a bad decision by Reynolds, who got caught between second and third base on a hard-hit ground ball hit directly to the shortstop. Reynolds ended up in a rundown when Drew elected to go after the lead runner instead of the out at first. Drew also made a highlight reel play in the seventh inning ranging up the middle and flipping the ball with his glove to second base. He finished the seventh by running deep into foul territory and making a catch near the bullpen mound. In the fourth inning Jones reached on a single and was gunned down at home on a perfect defensive play by the A's following a Davis double. Cespedes got to the ball and made a strong throw to Drew, who made a perfect throw to Norris, who caught the ball and made the tag on Jones as he slid home. Donaldson made a ranging catch to end the top of the fourth inning. He ran all the way to the tarp and fell over the top of the rolled-up rain protector as he hauled in the ball. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 20,342. Dot RaceGold wins the dot race. White bumped Green off the track right before the finish line. Up NextThe A's will go for the series sweep on Sunday. The Orioles announced their starter for Sunday shortly before Saturday's game. They have decided to go with lefty Randy Wolf (5-10, 5.69 ERA). It will be Wolf's first start for Baltimore, and his first since Aug. 19 with Milwaukee. He will be the third lefty in a row the A's face. Dan Straily (2-0, 3.42 ERA) will be on the mound for the A's. It will be his fifth career start. The A's have won all four games started by Straily this season.

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

Hahn's excellence goes for naught as Angels walk off on A's

ANAHEIM — The night should have been about Jesse Hahn, who had every pitch working and rendered Angels hitters helpless over eight innings.

Instead, the A’s postgame comments Tuesday were filled with second-guessing and do-overs that they wish came their way in a 2-1, 11-inning defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

The game-winner came off the bat of Kole Calhoun, who singled in Danny Espinosa from second to sink the A’s in their first extra-inning contest of the season. Ryan Madson went outside with an 0-1 fastball and Calhoun spanked it into left-center, a pitch that Madson said he never should have thrown.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that pitch,” Madson said afterward. “I should have definitely stepped off and re-thought it, so I didn’t throw it with conviction. It looked like it was off the plate but something he could handle. I learned my lesson to throw a pitch I’m convicted in.”

Calhoun swung through a changeup on Madson’s first pitch. Josh Phegley, who was behind the plate calling pitches, said he didn’t want to go right back to that pitch.

“(You) kind of obviously second-guess yourself after the game-winning hit is hit off a pitch you just called,” Phegley said. “I thought about going back to (the changeup). I saw in my head him kind of making adjustments and just looping one over the infield, getting the same result. … I thought it was a good pitch and I’ll trust that guy’s fastball any day of the year. It just was not the result we were looking for.”

Phegley was set up to be a hero himself, after he came off the bench to pinch-hit for Vogt and smacked the first pitch from Jose Alvarez in the 10th for a homer to right-center that snapped a scoreless tie. But Mike Trout — who else? — answered with a home run to lead off the bottom of the 10th off Santiago Casilla. He sliced a 2-0 pitch off the plate for a drive that cleared the short right field wall just inside the foul pole.

It was Trout’s 23rd career homer against the A’s, his most off any team.

“I don’t know anybody that hits a home run right down the right field line on a ball that looks like it’s by him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “There aren’t too many guys that are gonna do that. Maybe he and Khris Davis. It’s not like it’s a bad pitch.”

Hahn wound up with a no-decision from an outing that might have been his sharpest as an Athletic, perhaps even more so than his shutout of Detroit on Memorial Day, 2015. He allowed just one hit over eight innings, facing two batters over the minimum in that time, striking out six and walking two.

“I feel like I literally had everything working for me today,” Hahn said. “I think it might have been my best command I’ve had of all pitches.”

Hahn, who didn’t make the 25-man roster coming out of spring, is finding his groove since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. In three starts he’s allowed just nine hits and four earned runs over 20 innings, for a 1.80 ERA.

“He pitched as well as we’ve seen him,” Melvin said. “He had his best sink of the year by far. His best sink in a while, and a good curve ball. He really had it working tonight.”

Unfortunately for Hahn and the A’s, his excellent start didn’t come with a ‘W’ attached.

**

Melvin said center fielder Jaff Decker felt something in his foot on a steal attempt of second in which he was thrown out easily without a slide attempt.

“He got taped up and he was OK,” Melvin said.

 

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

Instant Replay: Casilla blows save in 10th, Angels walk off in 11th

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ANAHEIM – After the A’s appeared to deal a knockout blow in the 10th inning, the Angels countered and ended up handing the A’s their first walk-off loss of 2017.

Kole Calhoun’s two-out single off Ryan Madson in the 11th scored Danny Espinosa and Los Angeles hung a 2-1 loss on the A’s on Tuesday to open a three-game series at Angel Stadium.

Mike Trout hit a game-tying homer off Santiago Casilla to lead off the bottom of the 10th. That came right after A’s pinch hitter Josh Phegley broke a scoreless tie by hitting the first pitch of the top of the 10th for a homer to right-center off Jose Alvarez.

For two teams who didn’t advance a single runner past first base through the first nine innings, the A’s and Angels packed a lot of excitement into the extra frames.

Phegley delivered the A’s first pinch homer in extras since Chris Carter hit one against Seattle on July 6, 2012. After Trout answered with his homer, Albert Pujols lined a single off Casilla, who came in having allowed opponents just one hit over 23 at-bats this season. Ben Revere pinch-ran for Pujols and stole second, representing the winning run with no outs. But Casilla buckled down and stranded him there to keep it a 1-1 game.

Espinosa led off the bottom of the 11th with a single off Madson, then Martin Maldonado executed a two-strike sacrifice bunt to move him to second. With two outs, Calhoun lined his game-winner to left-center, and Espinosa easily beat Jaff Decker’s throw to the plate.

A’s starter Jesse Hahn was outstanding, facing just two batters over the minimum over eight innings and limiting the Angels to one hit. The only problem was the A’s couldn’t get anything going on their end against right-hander J.C. Ramirez, who threw seven scoreless innings. All told, they struck out 11 times against five Angels pitchers.

Starting pitching report:
Hahn was as dialed in as he’s been wearing an A’s uniform. Manager Bob Melvin talks often of the upside he thinks the right-hander has, and Hahn demonstrated that Tuesday. He coaxed 12 ground-ball outs but also showed a good curve ball and struck out six. Hahn walked two, but after the one single he gave up to Marte in the fifth, he promptly picked Marte off first.

Bullpen report:
Sean Doolittle threw a perfect ninth to send the game into extra innings scoreless, and he struck out Kole Calhoun with two nasty sliders. Looking to protect a 1-0 lead in the 10th, Casilla fell behind Trout 2-0 and Trout sliced a homer to the right field corner that landed just inside the foul pole.

At the plate:
The A’s mustered just five hits total.

Ryon Healy, hitting .524 over his previous seven games entering the night, got a start in the No. 2 spot and struck out swinging four times in five at-bats.

The A’s got the leadoff hitter aboard in four of five innings from the fourth through the eighth but couldn’t cash in. And with the strong-armed Martin Maldonado behind the plate for the Angels, Oakland couldn’t jump-start things on the bases. Jaff Decker was thrown out at second so easily in the fourth that he didn’t even bother to slide, as it appeared either him or Healy missed a sign.

In the field:
In line with how well Hahn was dealing, the A’s defense played stingy. Matt Joyce made a diving catch in right to rob Jefry Marte to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Jed Lowrie made a nice play from the outfield grass to retire Danny Espinosa in the sixth. Credit Hahn for keeping his infielders engaged with so many ground-ball outs.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 30,124.

Up next:
In the middle contest of this three-game set, Sean Manaea (1-1, 4.43) squares off against Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.98) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Shoemaker’s six homers allowed are tied for third most in the American League.