Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 9, Rangers 3

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 9, Rangers 3

BOX SCORE
ARLINGTON -- After five consecutive tightly-contested, one-run games, the A's needed a laugher and they got it. They dropped the Rangers by a total of 9-3 to move within three games of Texas in the American League West. Oakland's magic number to clinch at least a spot in the Wild Card playoff game is now at six.At the PlateThe A's erupted for five runs in the first inning and sent nine batters to the plate. Oakland batters collected eight hits including RBI triples hit by Yoenis Cespedes and Derek Norris, and RBI singles by Chris Carter, Brandon Moss and Josh Donaldson. The A's were aided by two huge defensive mistakes by Rangers' center fielder Josh Hamilton. He ole'd the ball hit by Donaldson, allowing it to get to the wall. He also took a bad route on the ball hit to Norris and then tried to overcompensate by jumping as the ball sailed over his head.While the A's piled up runs, they also piled up strikeouts. They struck out 11 times on Wednesday en route to breaking the American League record for most single-season strikeouts with 1,333. The previous record was 1,324 set by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007.Two more runs came around to score in the third inning. Donaldson and Josh Reddick reached on back-to-back walks to start the inning. Stephen Drew ended up driving them both home with a two-run single. Norris added another RBI single in the fourth inning.Reddick snapped his career-worst 0-for-30 slump in the seventh inning with a single up the middle. As he reached first it looked like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders. The players in the dugout asked for the game ball as a joke. He collected another hit in his next at-bat with a runner in scoring position. The runner was held at third though, so he didn't get an RBI.Drew hasn't been struggling to find hits. He ended the night 4-for-5 with two RBI. Moss had three hits and two runs. Norris added a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to put the A's up 9-3. He drove in three runs.Starting Pitching ReportWhile the A's knocked around Rangers' starting pitcher Martin Perez, eventually driving him out of the game in the first inning, Jarrod Parker had to sit on the bench and wait for his turn. The prolonged wait might have messed up his rhythm a little bit. He walked the leadoff hitter and then gave up an RBI double to Elvis Andrus. He ended up throwing 30 pitches in the first inning.Parker got in trouble in the second inning as well. He gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. He ended up allowing a run on a force out and another on a sacrifice fly but escaped without giving up a big hit.After the iffy start Parker settled down and regained control. He threw four consecutive scoreless innings and made it through the sixth with 109 pitches. The way things started for Parker, six innings of three-run ball and the win is actually a pretty solid line against the Rangers in Texas.Bullpen ReportJerry Blevins started the seventh inning. He tossed a clean 1-2-3 frame. He retired two more batters in the in the eighth inning before leaving the game. Evan Scribner finished it off with one and one-third innings of scoreless relief. The A's bullpen got some much needed rest and is finally looking to be back to full strength.In the FieldThe A's turned a clean inning-ending double play in the fourth. Ian Kinsler hit a grounder to Donaldson who fielded it and make a quick throw to Pennington, who stood strong as he made his throw with the sliding runner bearing down on him.AttendanceThe Rangers announced an attendance of 46,689.Texas Legends DashNolan Ryan wins the dash. It looked like someone in the A's dugout threw something at the fake Ryan as he ran by. No word on if the real Nolan Ryan was in the costume. Though I did see Ryan in the tunnel before the game. You can jump to your own conclusions.Up NextTravis Blackley (5-3, 3.48 ERA) takes the mound in Texas against Matt Harrison (17-10, 3.17 ERA). Harrison leads the Rangers in ERA and wins.

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

BOX SCORE

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.