Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 6, Twins 3

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 6, Twins 3

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The A's got a little extra time off after rain delayed the start of the game by 20 minutes. The weather cost the A's an opportunity to take batting practice on the field before the game. As a result it took the A's bats a little extra time to get back into the swing of things. Better late than never for the A's, who rallied for four runs in the fourth and two more in the ninth, beating the Twins 6-3. They are now 44-43, one game over .500.At the PlateThe first time through the order Francisco Liriano carved up A's batters. Eight of the first nine batters he faced were retired via strikeout.The second time though the lineup the A's made amends. Jemile Weeks reached base on a leadoff single. Later in the inning the A's were gifted a baserunner, when Denard Span snowconed and dropped a routine flyball hit to center field by Yoenis Cespedes. Chris Carter worked the count full against Liriano and drew a one out walk to load the bases. Then Jonny Gomes drove the first pitch from Liriano to left-center field for his third-career grand slam.That is all the A's would score against Liriano. He ended the night with a career-high 15 strikeouts. After Liriano left the game, the A's rallied for two more runs. Gomes drove in his fifth run with an RBI-single. The last time he drove in five runs was August 14, 2009 as a member of the Reds. Brandon Inge also drove in a run in the eighth.Yoenis Cespedes started the game as the DH after spraining his left thumb on Sunday. He went 2 for 3, reaching on an error and scoring a run.Starting Pitching ReportA.J. Griffin allowed more than two runs for the first time in his MLB career. On Friday, all three of his earned runs were came as a result of former A's outfielder Josh Willingham.He homered against Griffin to start the second inning. Then hit a two-run blast off him in the fourth. That means Willingham has hit four homers against the A's this season, driving in 10 runs.This offseason Willingham left the A's for Minnesota when he was signed to a three-year, 21M contract. For sake of comparison, Coco Crisp was signed to a two-year, 14M contract. Imagine an outfield of Reddick, Cespedes and Willingham in Oakland.Bullpen ReportGriffin turned the game over to the the bullpen in the seventh inning with a one run lead. Sean Doolittle entered the game in relief. He retired the side in order striking out two hitters in the seventh. He came back out for the eighth inning and retired the first two hitters before allowing a walk to Willingham and a double to Morneau.With runners on second and third base and two outs Balfour entered the game to face Trevor Plouffe in what was undoubtedly the most important at-bat in the game. Balfour engaged in an eight-pitch at-bat that felt like a 12-round prize fight. Plouffe landed a solid blow, but Balfour was the last man standing, as Weeks snared the liner off the outfielders bat to end the inning.Last time the A's were in Minnesota they were swept. In the second game of the series Brian Fuentes blew a save on a walk-off three-run homer hit by Willingham. This time they have a new closer in Ryan Cook. The rookie All-Star pitcher retired the Twins in order for his ninth save.In the FieldBrandon Hicks made a solid play to end the third inning. He leaped up snaring a liner hit by Ben Revere at the height of his jump, then fired to first to double off Denard Span. Derek Norris gunned down Trevor Plouffe stealing second in the fourth inning. Plouffe reached on an error by Hicks. Griffin also caught Span stealing in the first inning.Up NextTommy Milone (8-6, 3.57 ERA) takes the mound for the A's on Saturday. Milone struck out a career-high nine hitters in his last start. That start came at home against the Mariners, where he gave up one run over seven innings of work. Cole De Vries (2-1, 3.00 ERA) will get the start for the Twins. De Vries' last start was in Texas against the Rangers. He pitched seven shutout innings but didn't factor in the decision.

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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USATSI

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.