Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 6, Indians 4

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 6, Indians 4

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OAKLAND -- As the A's opened up the homestand honoring the 10th anniversary of the 20-game record streak of the 2002 team, the 2012 team might be beginning a streak of their own. Oakland overcame a 4-0 deficit to win the game 6-4. The A's have won two games in a row. It's not 20, but it will do for now.At the PlateDerek Norris was drilled in the face mask by the follow through of Carlos Santana's bat in the first inning. He was rattled for a moment but staid in the game. Norris later stepped to the plate and took out his aggression on a Zach McAllister pitch. He might have hit the ball too hard, as it rocketed off his bat smashing into the very top of the wall in left field. It ended up being a long single.The A's fell behind by four runs in the top half of the fourth inning. They came to the plate and immediately chipped away at the lead. Chris Carter lead off by smoking a single to right field. After Brandon Moss reached with on a walk, Josh Donaldson clobbered a double to the left field wall scoring Carter and moving Moss to third. Norris hit a soft ground ball to third scoring Moss and cutting the lead in half. Then Cliff Pennington stroked an RBI single to right field to score Donaldson.The A's put a rally together in the eighth inning with a surprise cameo. Carter led off with a walk, and Moss singled to right. Josh Reddick then stepped to the plate to an applause. Reddick who wasn't in the lineup after having another procedure at the dentist this afternoon, smacked a bloop single. Donaldson then stroked a hard-hit single to left field scoring the go-ahead run. Pennington added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to right field.Josh Donaldson was locked in at the plate. His double was smoked to left. He also collected two singles to right, and a single to left. He ended the night a career-high 4 for 4.Starting Pitching ReportThe A's skipped Tommy Milone's previous start to get the rookie pitcher some extra rest. A refreshed Milone looked good out of the gate. Joe West's strike zone however, didn't.West called several close pitches balls that looked like and showed up as strikes on the MLB pitch FX.Milone got into trouble in the fourth inning. Carlos Santana drew a leadoff walk. The next batter Michael Brantley reached on an error charged to Yoenis Cespedes. Brantley hit a high fly ball to left field that Cespedes and Pennington let fall between them. Jason Donald followed with another single to load the bases with no outs. Shelley Duncan then struck the big blow, driving a 3-2 fastball into the left field bleachers for a Grand Slam.To Milone's credit he settled down after the homer. He retired five of the next six batters he faced, striking out three of them. He ended up allowing three earned runs, on six hits, and six strikeouts.Bullpen ReportPat Neshek pitched faced four batters retiring them all in order. He struck out half of them. Jordan Norberto faced five batters, also striking out two of them.He hit Shin-soo Choo with a pitch on an 0-2 count. Choo was the only base runner he allowed. Norberto has gone more than one inning in five of his last six outings. He is extremely versatile and is having a big year out of the A's bullpen.Grant Bafour entered in the ninth inning for the save opportunity. He struck out Duncan looking to start the inning. Then retired the next two batters with ease to earn his 10th save.Balfour hasn't allowed a run in 15 of his last 16 outings. Before the game A's manager Bob Melvin said that Balfour is a good fit for the team in the ninth inning at this time.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 13,967.Dot RaceBlue wins the dot race. Red knocked White and Blue off the track in the second lap but they got back on and rallied.Up NextThe steady Bartolo Colon (9-9, 3.55 ERA) takes the hill for Oakland. Colon's three-game winning streak was snapped in Chicago after a rough five-run inning.He will be opposed by Corey Kluber (0-1, 8.56 ERA). Kluber is winless in his three starts for the Indians this season. He allowed six runs in his last start.

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

A's spring training Day 42: Roster longshot Decker could claim outfield spot

MESA, Ariz. — As the pieces are beginning to fit for the A’s 25-man roster, Jaff Decker may be an unlikely feel-good story come Opening Night.

A non-roster invitee this spring, the journeyman has impressed with his all-around game to the point that he might make Oakland’s club as a fifth outfielder.

There’s other factors that play into it — how many relievers the A’s carry will determine whether they keep five outfielders — but things are breaking right for the 27-year-old Decker, who’s with his fourth organization and has never made an Opening Night roster.

When Jake Smolinski went down with a shoulder injury that required surgery, it thrust Decker into the competition. Then Monday, the A’s released veteran Alejandro De Aza, who had impressed this spring but had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. The A’s think enough of Decker that they cut De Aza loose. On Monday, Decker returned from a minor oblique issue and started in left field, going 1-for-3 in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City.

“I’m super excited,” Decker said. “I feel like I fit in well here, and I get along with the guys really well. It’s a good group of baseball minds, baseball guys. I hope I have done enough and shown I’m healthy enough to land that spot.”

De Aza hit .300 in 19 games and displayed the veteran savvy that seemed to make him a possible fit on the A’s bench. Manager Bob Melvin expressed hope that De Aza might re-sign with the A’s if he doesn’t find a big league opportunity elsewhere.

But Decker, who bats left-handed as does De Aza, is hitting .308 and has his own attributes, including a strong arm and the ability to play all three outfield spots. It’s a nice package of skills for a player who, at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, doesn’t appear the prototypical big league outfielder at first glance.

If the A’s keep seven relievers, they will take five outfielders into the regular season. The decision on a seventh reliever appears to be between lefty Daniel Coulombe and right-hander Frankie Montas. But the A’s could hang on to both and only keep four outfielders, with Mark Canha being the fourth.

Decker fun fact: His first name is pronounced “Jeff.” He’s named after his uncle, whose first name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Decker’s uncle kept the spelling.

MELVIN ON RAIDERS: Melvin, a Bay Area native who is quite tuned in to the history of local teams, weighed in on the Raiders announcing a move to Las Vegas. That news has a direct impact on the A’s, obviously, as a co-tenant of the Coliseum with the Raiders.

“It’s too bad,” Melvin said. “Like us, they have a rich tradition and unbelievable fan base. They’re well supported in the Bay Area. It’s tough to have to deal with it.”

NOTEWORTHY: In his first start since being named part of the rotation, Andrew Triggs struggled mightily against the Royals, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. While stressing that now is no time for complacency in his position, Triggs also said he was approaching the game differently than if it were the regular season. He kept throwing his changeup, his fourth best pitch, in an effort to get more comfortable with it.

“If this were (the regular season), we probably would have said in the first or second inning, this wasn’t so great, and gone out there and started back-dooring cutters and working off the sinker,” he said. “But we made a concerted effort to work on a pitch, it wasn’t very good, and the results showed that.”

FAMILIAR FACE: One of the homers off Triggs came from former Athletic Brandon Moss, who connected for a two-run shot in the fourth. The outfielder signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Royals in the offseason.

ODDS AND ENDS: Coulombe had a great day, tossing three scoreless innings. That’s three outings in a row without allowing a run for the lefty after a rough patch before that. Melvin pointed out that the ability to throw multiple innings will be important if Coulombe makes the team. … Matt Chapman homered in the fifth, his third long ball of the spring. He’s hitting .261 and playing stellar defense. “He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and it rubs off on guys,” Melvin said.

 

A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

A's statement on Raiders: 'We would be sorry to see them leave'

MESA, Ariz. — The Raiders’ approval to leave Oakland and relocate to Las Vegas comes as the A’s are contemplating where to build their own ballpark in Oakland, with the Coliseum site one of the options.

The A’s issued this statement Monday after the Raiders got the green light from NFL owners to bolt for Vegas:

“We understand the Raiders’ need for a new stadium. Oakland is an incredible sports town and we would be sorry to see them leave. We commend the city’s and county’s efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The Mayor and her team have worked incredibly hard to save the franchise. We are focused on, and excited about, our efforts to build a new ballpark in Oakland and look forward to announcing a location this year.”

The Raiders have one-year options to continue playing at the Coliseum for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and they plan to do so.

The A’s, meanwhile, are choosing between four different locations in Oakland to build a new venue — the Coliseum, Howard Terminal, a site near Laney College and one near Brooklyn Basin.

The Raiders’ decision to leave doesn’t necessarily mean the Coliseum moves into the lead for possible options for the A’s to build. The site is viable, and there’s great BART and freeway access. The Coliseum could be considered the safest option, perhaps, because it’s a tried-and-true site that has hosted three professional sports teams for decades. The A’s know what they’re dealing with there.

But the A’s also want a thriving entertainment area around their new ballpark, wherever that might be. That sort of “neighborhood” would have to be built from scratch at the current Coliseum site, which is isolated from the multitude of restaurants and bars that exist around AT&T Park, for example.