Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 5, Mariners 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 5, Mariners 2

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OAKLAND -- There are a myriad of postseason clinching scenarios to pore over. None of them mean a thing if the A's don't win. If they handle their business then things get a lot less murky when it comes to their potential playoff situation. They did just that against Seattle, sweeping the Mariners out of town with a 5-2 win. Oakland broke out the bats in the eighth inning and hit two mammoth home runs to take the lead. The magic number to clinch a spot in the postseason is now at two. They get the Texas Rangers for the final three games of the season with a chance to potentially win the American League West or force a tiebreaker game against Texas. At the PlateThe A's got on the board first. Stephen Drew walked with one out. Yoenis Cespedes then smacked an opposite field RBI triple to give the A's a 1-0 lead. Brandon Moss drove in the second run with a shallow sacrifice fly to center field. With Cespedes' speed the ball didn't have to be too deep to score the second run. The A's had a good chance to take the lead in the fifth inning. George Kottaras and Cliff Pennington drew back-to-back walks to start the frame. Coco Crisp stepped to the plate next and grounded into a double play. That moved Kottaras to third with two outs. Drew struck out swinging to end the inning. In hindsight it would have been a good move to bunt over the runners. Crisp is one of the team's hottest hitters, though. In the eighth inning Cespedes took matters into his own hands. He crushed a ball into the left field stands to give the A's a 3-2 lead. The bat crack was very loud when he made contact, and he stopped and watched it fly out of the yard. In fairness to the young slugger he was probably just making sure his 23rd home run didn't end up hooking foul. The homer came off Mariners reliever Shawn Kelley, who threw a temper tantrum in the dugout after he left the game.Josh Reddick piled on with his 32nd home run of the season. He hit a tape-measure two-run blast that landed in the second deck in right field. You don't see balls land up there too often. Moss was the last player to hit a ball up there. His bomb gave the A's a 5-2 lead. Starting Pitching ReportTommy Milone was playing with fire. He allowed the leadoff runner to reach base in the first three innings of the game. In the first inning, Franklin Gutierrez hit a leadoff double but Milone stranded him there. In the second frame, Milone allowed three hits but befitted from a huge defensive play by Reddick, who saved a run by gunning down Justin Smoak at home. Milone allowed a leadoff double to Gutierrez again in the third inning. That was the first of three consecutive hits that he allowed in that inning. Kyle Seager drove home Gutierrez with an RBI single to put the Mariners on the board. Milone responded by getting a big double play, but Smoak stroked a game-tying RBI single with two outs. Milone's only clean inning was the fourth. He ended up leaving the game with 85 pitches in the fifth. Milone got the leadoff runner to line out in that inning. He then allowed a triple to Casper Wells that almost got caught by Crisp. With Wells on third and one out he got a big strikeout. A's manager Bob Melvin then pulled him out of the game. Milone ended the day with four and two-thirds innings pitched. He allowed nine hits and two runs. He didn't allow a walk and struck out three batters. Milone finished his rookie season with a 3.74 ERA and a 13-10 record. Milone's 13 wins set an Oakland rookie record. Even without the results he wanted in his final start of the regular season it has been a pretty remarkable year for the lefty. Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered in relief of Milone in the fifth inning. He walked Jesus Montero on four pitches and was removed from the game. Melvin then sent Jerry Blevins to the mound to face Smoak, who grounded out to third base. Blevins remained in the game for the sixth inning and pitched a clean inning.Ryan Cook pitched the seventh inning. He allowed a leadoff double and a single to center field. Then he struck out the side. The righty got Wells and Seager swinging and then Montero looking on a slider. The crowd went nuts when Cook struck out the side.Sean Doolittle entered the game for the eighth inning. He pitched a clean inning and struck out Miguel Olivo swinging to end the eighth. Grant Balfour entered the game in the ninth inning with a three run lead. He pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save of the season.
In the FieldReddick saved the A's a run in the second inning. Carlos Triunfel singled to right field and Reddick charged the ball but bobbled it while picking it up. Smoak saw the bobble as he was rounding third and Reddick launched a laser from right field that beamed its way directly into Kottaras' glove, beating Smoak by several steps for the out. It was Reddick's 15th outfield assist this season. Crisp made a leaping attempt at the wall on a triple hit by Casper Wells. He just missed catching the ball. Reddick picked up the ball and made a strong throw to Pennington, who made a perfect relay throw to third base. The throw beat Wells to the bag but it looked like his foot jarred the ball out of Donaldson's glove as he tried to apply the tag. Donaldson made a diving stop with runners on the corners and two outs to save a run in the fifth inning. He dove to his left to stop the grounder, popped up and threw out Smoak with time to spare. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 21,057. Dot RaceGreen wins the dot race. The A's were wearing green. It seems the dot that represents the A's jersey color for the day is usually the winner. Up NextHere are the pitching match ups for the series against the Rangers. Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.44 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (1-3, 5.03 ERA)
Travis Blackley (5-4, 3.91 ERA) vs. Matt Harrison (18-10, 3.26 ERA)
A.J. Griffin (7-1, 2.71 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (7-3, 4.64 ERA)

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

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Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP