Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Royals 0


Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Royals 0


The A's were scuffling. They had lost three straight games and were facing the possibility of being swept in Kansas City by the Royals. The struggles ended at least temporarily on Thursday. Enter rookie starting pitcher Dan Straily. The A's have won all three of Straily's starts and the 3-0 victory on Thursday gave him his first career win. Get the guy a game ball. Starting Pitching ReportStraily got off to a good start. He attacked hitters throwing first-pitch strikes to the first six batters he faced. In the first inning he retired the side in order throwing eight fastballs and two sliders. He topped out at 93 mph. In the second inning Straily got into some trouble. He allowed a single and two walks to load the bases with two outs. Prior to loading the bases, Straily got Eric Hosmer to hit a weak foul pop up that barely got out of play. If the game was at the Oakland Coliseum the inning would have been over. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Curt Young, Straily got Chris Getz to hit a soft ground ball to first to end the inning. Straily threw 10 pitches in the first inning but tossed 29 in the long second frame. After loading the bases, Straily locked in. He retired the next eight batters he faced and the minimum from the third through the sixth inning. He was pulled with one out and a runner on base in the seventh. His final line was six and one-third innings pitched, three hits, and most importantly, zero earned runs. He struck out two and walked two batters. At the PlateAfter a painful tooth extraction situation Josh Reddick was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday. On Thursday he returned, but another late change moved him from right field to designated hitter. As the DH he had the ability to ice his face between at-bats. The A's were being no-hit through three and one-third innings when Reddick dropped a bunt to beat the Royals shift. It is the second time Reddick has bunted for a single this season to beat the shift. Coco Crisp put the A's on the board in the sixth inning with two outs. He clubbed a fastball just over the wall in right field. It was originally ruled a double, but the umpires reviewed it and correctly let Crisp continue his trot around the bases.In the next inning Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer that didn't need a review. It cleared the wall and landed several rows back in left field with ease, giving the A's a 2-0 lead. The homer run was Cespedes' first extra-base hit since July 28, ending a career-high 14-game extra-base slump. The A's added an insurance run in the eighth inning. Derek Norris drew a walk before stealing his fifth base. The bulky catcher caught the Royals off guard as he swiped second. He would get another chance to flash his speed on the base paths, coming around to score on a two-out Jemile Weeks single up the middle that made it 3-0. There was one low point. A's hitters stuck out 11 times. Bullpen ReportSean Doolittle entered in relief of Straily in the seventh. He gave up a two singles and stuck out Jeff Francoeur. He left with the bases loaded. Jerry Blevins got the call in a tough spot. With the bases loaded and two outs all it took was one pitch to retire Getz to end the inning, stranding three Royals runners. Blevins struck out Jarrod Dyson to start the eighth and then left the game.Ryan Cook entered in relief of Blevins. He allowed a single before retiring the next two batters on ground outs. Cook should be comfortable on the mound in Kansas City after his All-Star Game performance there a little over a month ago. Grant Balfour pitched a clean ninth inning earning save No. 9. In the FieldIn the fifth inning Derek Norris made a strong but wide throw on a stolen base attempt. Cliff Pennington was able to lunge across the bag, snagging the ball and tagging Getz to end the inning. Up NextThe A's return home for six games. A well rested Tommy Milone (9-9, 3.91 ERA) takes the mound after skipping a start. Milone is in a bit of a rut. He is 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in his last three starts. The Cleveland Indians will send right-handed pitcher Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.46 ERA) to the mound against Oakland. McAllister allowed two runs over eight innings in his last start against the Red Sox. He is 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in his last three starts.

A's give up four home runs, drop series opener to Orioles

A's give up four home runs, drop series opener to Orioles


BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones called it a game the Baltimore Orioles needed to win.

The center fielder set the early tone, and the rest of the team followed his lead.

Jones hit a pair of home runs, Jonathan Schoop added a three-run shot and Baltimore beat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 on Monday night. The Orioles won for the second time in six games, but they are still in the thick of the wild-card race.

"Adam's done that a lot and it never goes unnoticed or unappreciated or assumed, more importantly," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Jon obviously had a big blow there, but can't tell you how hard it is, as hard as Adam plays as long as he plays, and then mid-to-late August you're still able to do that. That's one of the things that separates Adam."

Wade Miley (7-10) held the A's to two runs, five hits and four walks over six-plus innings to pick up his first win at Camden Yards since June 17. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against Oakland this season.

Jones tied a career high with four hits and is one home run shy of reaching 25 for the seventh consecutive season. Zach Britton got the final out with two runners on for his 11th save this season and his 60th in a row.

Baltimore beat Chris Smith (0-3) for the second time in 12 days. Smith allowed five runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings - his shortest start of the season. He was pulled after allowing Schoop's three-run homer, which made it 5-1. Ryan Dull entered and allowed another homer by Jones.

"I always feel strong at this time of the season," Jones said. "It's called pacing myself. I've learned how to pace myself over the years."

Jed Lowrie homered for the A's, and Boog Powell hit his first career home run in the eighth inning, appropriately enough doing so in Baltimore, where an unrelated Boog Powell slugged 303 home runs and won the 1970 MVP.

"It didn't seem real," said Powell, who made his major league debut earlier this season with Seattle and was acquired in a trade earlier this month for Yonder Alonso.

The younger Powell is expected to meet his namesake for the first time Tuesday, according to

Welington Castillo responded for Baltimore with a solo home run in the eighth off Michael Brady that provided the 7-3 lead.

Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Matt ChapmanChad Pinder was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on the play.

The Orioles tied it in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Mark Trumbo. Jones led off the fourth with a homer and Baltimore never trailed again.

"He's a good hitter for a reason. It's tough," Smith said about Jones. "You try to attack his zones, and it seems like I make a good pitch and he breaks his bat but he finds somehow to put it in the outfield."

Manny Machado became the third Oriole to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining Schoop (July 23) and Tim Beckham (Aug. 7). Machado batted .385 (10 for 26) with four home runs and 12 RBIs over six games.

Athletics: C Bruce Maxwell, who took a foul ball off his face mask Saturday at Houston, did not start for the second consecutive game. He entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and went 0 for 2. . SS Marcus Semien left in the seventh with a wrist injury.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) went 0 for 3 with a walk on Monday in his first rehabilitation game with Triple-A Norfolk.

Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (3-1, 3.46 ERA) received a no-decision after allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his lone appearance against Baltimore on Aug. 11.

Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-8, 6.47 ERA) struggled in his previous outing against Seattle, when he was charged with six runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. He is 4-1 with a 4.70 ERA in eight career starts against Oakland.

A's Cotton notches first big league victory in two months: 'He found out if...'

A's Cotton notches first big league victory in two months: 'He found out if...'

HOUSTON — No one questions the quality of stuff that Jharel Cotton takes to the mound.

According to A’s manager Bob Melvin, the key for his rookie starter is more an issue of mindset and aggressiveness.

Cotton was in attack mode Sunday after a wobbly first inning against the Houston Astros. The result was an encouraging six-inning outing that set the A’s on the path to a 3-2 victory that helped them avoid a three-game sweep at Minute Maid Park.

While the victory was important for his team’s overall psyche, Melvin also hopes it triggers some confidence for Cotton in how he can attack a dangerous lineup and have success.

“I think he found out if he throws the ball over the plate, it’s gonna allow him to stay in the game longer,” Melvin said. “He should take a lot out of this game, especially against a lineup like that. Knowing that if I’m throwing the ball over the plate, using a mix of pitches and I’m not afraid to use my fastball, that the results can be good. We’ve seen him pitch really good games because he’s got good stuff.”

Cotton (6-10) rang up his first major league victory since June 23 against the White Sox. That was before a blister on his thumb led to a stint on the disabled list. Since then, he’d struggled with walks, ill-timed homers, and generally enough turbulence to invite speculation on whether the A’s might skip him for a start or send him down.

He answered Sunday by holding the majors’ highest-scoring team to two runs on four hits over his six innings. That was after walking two in a 25-pitch first. Not since that scoreless outing against the White Sox back in June had Cotton surrendered less than four runs in a game.

A’s closer Blake Treinen, who recorded a six-out save and combined with fellow reliever Chris Hatcher to bring home the ‘W’ for Cotton, said watching Cotton tame the Astros lineup didn’t surprise him.

“I’d heard of him from before I was even (traded to the A’s), and I’ve seen his stuff. Sometimes as a young pitcher it just takes experience. When things are going really well, you don’t have to think.You just trust it.”

The A’s beat the Astros for just the third time in 15 games this season. On so many occasions, Houston has taken advantage of Oakland mistakes and forced the issue with aggressive baserunning. On Sunday, it was the A’s who dictated things in that fashion.

Center fielder Boog Powell, who went 3-for-4 with a walk from the leadoff spot, led the game off with a single against Brad Peacock (10-2). Then Marcus Semien grounded one toward the hole on the left side. With Powell racing hard into second, Astros shortstop Alex Bregman threw wildly into right field. Powell came around to score, and Semien — advancing all the way to third — came home on the play when Marwin Gonzalez made another throwing error.

Jed Lowrie scored on a passed ball in the sixth to push the A’s lead to 3-1, marking the first time in Oakland history the A’s scored three or more runs in a game without notching a single RBI.

Semien’s mad dash around the bases reminded him of a similar play as a Little Leaguer in El Cerrito, when he circled the bases in the same kind of way on his mother’s birthday. Afterward, she convinced him he’d hit a real homer.

“I got some texts from some old Little League friends about that one today,” Semien said.

It wasn’t conventional, and it didn’t matter. Over the first two games of this series, the A’s had scored one run total and advanced just one runner as far as third base.