Pratt's Instant Replay: Blue Jays 6, A's 5

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Blue Jays 6, A's 5

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OAKLAND -- The A's had won 10-straight one-run games before losing 6-5 to the Blue Jays on Sunday. A few bad breaks derailed the A's hopes of winning the four-game series against Toronto. The A's were burned by a sun-aided single that ended up yielding three runs and later a line drive to end the game that might have tied it up had it not been snared in a slick play by Yan Gomes. At the PlateThe A's rallied with two outs in the second inning. Brandon Inge smacked a single up the middle. Derek Norris came next and lined a double into the left field gap just past a diving attempt by center fielder Anthony Gose. Inge came around to score with ease tying the game at one.Josh Reddick has had some struggles with runners in scoring position. He delivered in a major way on Sunday. With two on and one out Reddick pulled an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers. Reddick's three-run homer gave the A's a 4-1 lead. According to the official scorer David Feldman it is the first time in his career he has hit an 0-2 pitch for a home run. Reddick now has 24 homers this season.The A's hit two doubles in the seventh inning to put another run on the scoreboard. Adam Rosales doubled to left with one out and then Coco Crisp doubled down the right field line to score Rosales.Chris Carter drew a one-out walk in the eighth inning. He leads Major League Baseball with 19 walks since the All-Star Break.Yoenis Cespedes returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game with a sprained wrist. He went 0 for 4.Down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth Derek Norris just missed a game-tying homer to left field. The ball hooked foul. He hit another long foul ball later in the bat but ended up striking out swinging. Brandon Moss pinch hit for Rosales and drew a four-pitch walk before Eric Sogard was brought in as a pinch runner. Jemile Weeks hit a hard liner that was snared by the third baseman and tossed to first to double off Sogard to end the game. Starting Pitching ReportTommy Milone's line is an ugly one. He allowed six runs in six innings and gave up nine hits and one walk. He didn't pitch quite as bad as the numbers indicate.He gave up a leadoff double to Rajai Davis. The speedy former A's player then broke for third as Anthony Gose dropped a bunt. As Gose made contact Davis never slowed down, he tore around third and scored as catcher Derek Norris threw to first. Norris might not have thought Davis was coming home. It is not often you see a runner score from second on a bunt. Milone failed to throw a shutdown inning after Reddick's homer gave him a three-run lead. He missed on a two-strike fastball that Edwin Encarnacion clubbed for a two-run homer to dead center field. It was Encarnacion's 29th home run of the year. Encarnacion was property of the Oakland Athletics very briefly prior to the 2011 season. On November 12, 2010 Encarnacion was selected off waivers by the A's from the Blue Jays. Less than a month later he was granted his free agency on December 2. At the time the A's thought Kevin Kouzmanoff was their answer at third base.Milone would have had a three-up, three-down inning in the fifth. Instead he ended up giving up three runs. The rookie left-handed pitcher did his part inducing a popup to shallow left field but Adam Rosales lost the ball in the sun and it fell safely for a single. Gose hit a double in the next at-bat, then Encarnacion was walked intentionally to load the bases. Next, Yunel Escobar smacked a two-run single to give the Jays a 5-4 lead. Kelly Johnson followed with a bloop single to shallow left to put the Jays up 6-4. It was an unfortunate turn of events for Milone.Milone has allowed 16 runs in his last 19 innings, which has to be a concern since he has been consistently good most of this season. The long ball has been a problem for Milone though. He has allowed 19 homers this season.Bullpen ReportThe A's bullpen pitched 18 and one-third innings in the last two games. As a result Oakland recalled Evan Scribner and Pedro Figueroa to provide some fresh arms for the pen. Scribner was the first to get the call out of the pen on Sunday. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the A's. He allowed three hits but didn't allow a run.Figueroa was next up. He stuck out Gose on a 95-mph fastball. Then quickly retired the next two hitters. Figueroa has some serious velocity from the left side. Scribner and Figueroa did a fantastic job giving the A's other over-worked relievers a much needed day of rest.In the FieldIn the third inning Moises Sierra hit a sky-high pop up to shallow left field. Jonny Gomes battled the sun and dropped to the ground in order to catch the ball. The sun aided the Blue Jays in the fifth inning when Rosales dropped a pop up that would have ended the inning. Three runs scored after Rosales' miscue.Norris threw out Kelly Johnson trying to steal second base in the second inning.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 18,308.Dot RaceWhite won the dot race after being slingshotted across the finish line.Up NextThe Angels come to town for a three-game series. Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, and Dan Straily will pitch in the series. They will be opposed by Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Zack Greinke.

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

Axford makes his 2017 debut; Doolittle takes step forward to return

OAKLAND — The A’s officially welcomed John Axford back into their bullpen fold Sunday, and they got some encouraging news about another reliever.

Sean Doolittle was expected to only throw a flat-ground session before the series finale against Boston, but he wound up throwing 15 pitches off the mound as well. That’s the first time Doolittle has thrown from the mound since joining the disabled list May 3 with a strained left shoulder. Next up is a 25-pitch session off the mound Wednesday.

The early indications are that Doolittle’s current shoulder woes aren’t as severe as the ailments that sidelined him for major portions of the past two seasons.

Axford was reinstated from the 10-day DL Saturday for his own shoulder strain, but his season debut came Sunday, when he handled the eighth inning and allowed one run. He was sidelined during the season-opening series against the Angels when he hurt his shoulder while warming up in the bullpen.

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All indications are that first baseman Yonder Alonso will be available to return to the lineup Tuesday for the opener of a two-game interleague series against the Miami Marlins. A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Sunday’s game that he considered Alonso as potentially being available off the bench. Given the A’s are off Monday, it’s reasonable to assume Alonso will be ready Tuesday when the Marlins start right-hander Jose Urena on the mound.

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The A’s are plenty familiar with Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland from his days with division rival Texas. But Moreland continues to do damage against Oakland even though he’s out of the AL West. Moreland’s two-run homer in the sixth off Andrew Triggs marked his third homer of the four-game series, and his 19th homer in 80 career games against the A’s. That’s his most homers against any major league club.

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The run Axford allowed in the eighth snapped a streak of 27 scoreless innings at home by the A’s bullpen. Josh Smith allowed five runs in the ninth.

A's denied sweep of Red Sox but still come away feeling good

A's denied sweep of Red Sox but still come away feeling good

OAKLAND — The A’s opted for the big-picture takeaway from their four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

They won three of four from a team expected to be a major player for an American League postseason berth, though the weekend’s final chapter didn’t play out as planned.

Oakland surrendered 15 hits and committed three errors in a 12-3 drubbing by the Red Sox that prevented the A’s first four-game home sweep of Boston in 85 years.

If anything, Sunday’s rout proved how an aggressive base running team like Boston can exploit the A’s weaknesses when they play their ‘Mr. Hyde’ version of defense. The Sox stole four bases and gladly took an extra 90 feet whenever the opportunity presented itself.

The first three games of this series featured some nice defensive moments for the A’s, but Sunday they reverted to some bad habits, pushing their major league-high error total to 42.

“It gets you off to a slow start, and there’s a psychology to not playing good defense,” manager Bob Melvin said. “… It costs you when you don’t play good defense. It kind of permeates in the dugout and you know you’ve got some work to do offensively off a pretty tough pitcher.”

Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1), who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a September game at the Coliseum, went eight innings Sunday and held the A’s to three runs, striking out eight.

Still, as the A’s broke for a rare day off in the middle of a homestand, Melvin wanted to make sure he delivered a message to his team:

“It was a good series,” he said. “Enjoy the off-day. Coming in here, if you say give us 3 out of 4 (against) them, you’ll take it. Granted, once you win three games you wanna get greedy and win the last game.”

Andrew Triggs (5-4) didn’t have his sharpest outing, allowing five earned runs and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, but he sure wasn’t helped in the field. The tone was set in the first, when Dustin Pedroia blooped a single to right field and Mark Canha’s throw back to the infield was wide of everybody. That allowed Mookie Betts to score all the way from first. In the fifth, Betts was running on the pitch, from first base, and motored all the way around to score on Pedroia’s perfectly executed hit-and-run.

That was the inning that Triggs said he regretted after the game. Chad Pinder’s two-run homer in the fourth had given the A’s a 3-2 lead, only to have Boston come right back the next inning and jump back ahead.

“It was a really good series,” Triggs said. “I’m just frustrated that I wasn’t able to put an exclamation point on it.”

The last time the A’s completed a four-game home series sweep of Boston came exactly 85 years ago Sunday. That was in 1932 — the year Babe Ruth “called his shot” against the Cubs in the World Series — when the A’s still played their home games at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.