Pratt's Instant Replay: A's complete epic comeback


Pratt's Instant Replay: A's complete epic comeback

OAKLAND -- Ten years ago, the late legendary A's broadcaster Bill King described Oakland's 20th consecutive victory as "Crazy, just plain crazy." One can only imagine how he would have described what he saw transpire on the field on October 3, 2012 as the A's swept the Rangers to win the American League West. King's signature catch phrase "Holy Toledo," is certainly fitting at this point. With the 12-5 win the A's are the first team in Major League history to win the division after trailing by five games with nine to play. Oakland was 13 games behind Texas on June 30. Yet, some how, some way, they came back to take the division crown. The A's never even had sole possession of the American League West at any point this season. They spent a total of four days tied for first.This is the latest the A's have ever clinched the division. Oakland clinched in their 161st game in 2000, but it was actually on the final day of the regular season. If they didn't win that year they would have been forced to play a make-up game against Tampa Bay. At the PlateThe A's jumped out to an early lead. With one out Stephen Drew and Yoenis Cespedes stroked back-to-back singles. Brandon Moss came up next and drove and RBI double down the right field line to give the A's a 1-0 lead. The A's lead wouldn't last long as the Rangers rallied for five runs in the third inning. Oakland's offense came roaring back in the fourth inning and answered with six runs. The scoring started after Moss drew a leadoff walk. Josh Reddick drove an RBI double to the opposite field that hit the wall in left-center. Donaldson and Seth Smith followed with back-to-back singles, with Smith's hit making it 5-3. Coco Crisp tied the game with a two-run double to right field that whipped the sellout crowd into a frenzy. What happened next literally made the entire Coliseum start shaking. Cespedes hit a shallow pop up that Josh Hamilton made a lazy effort on, dropping the ball and allowing two more runs to score. Hamilton put his glove hand up to catch the ball and didn't use two hands on the play. The crowd was so loud that the official scorer's announcement was inaudible in the press box. It was 7-5 at that point. The A's added a run in the fifth inning on a Derek Norris RBI single. He didn't even start the game, entering as a pinch hitter in the fourth. The single he hit to make it an 8-5 game was grounded up the middle and just got past diving shortstop Elvis Andrus. Norris added a solo home run to make it 9-5 in the eighth inning. For as much as Kurt Suzuki meant to the A's, Norris and George Kottaras have sure hit some huge homers for Oakland. The A's effectively nailed shut the coffin containing the Rangers' AL West title hopes in the eighth inning. They scored four runs, three on a Moss single with the bases loaded to take a 12-5 lead. Starting Pitching ReportA.J. Griffin didn't last long. He got knocked out of the game after allowing five runs in the third inning. He didn't look as bad as his line suggests, though. The Rangers sent 10 hitters to the plate, but four of them reached on singles, and two reached on a fielder's choice and an error. With the season on the line, A's manager Bob Melvin gave Griffin a quick hook and turned the game over to the bullpen. Griffin threw 70 pitches, 44 of which were strikes. Four of the five runs he allowed were earned. Bullpen ReportEvan Scribner entered the game in relief of Griffin. He ended the third inning with just one pitch. He then started the fourth inning by retiring Elvis Andrus on one pitch. It then took him five pitches to strike out Hamilton. Things got a little rocky for Scribner after that. He allowed a single to Beltre, and a double off the very top of the left field wall hit by Nelson Cruz. Michael Young followed with an opposite field liner, but it was snared out of the air by a leaping Moss, saving two runs. Scribner stayed in the game and retired the Rangers in order in the fifth inning. He retired the first two batters in the sixth as well, but was removed from the game with Hamilton due up. Jerry Blevins was brought in to face Hamilton, who has never recorded a hit against the A's lefty. Blevins struck him out swinging to end the top of the sixth. Scribner has become one of the most underrated player on the A's roster. He hasn't allowed a run in 11 of his last 12 outings and they have come in high pressure situations. Ryan Cook entered in the seventh inning. It was his fifth outing in as many days. Even with the heavy usage he was still hitting 96 MPH on the radar gun. He got into trouble early after allowing a single to Beltre and a double to Cruz with no outs. Then he got a key grounder to third that prevented Beltre from scoring and struck out Murphy and Napoli to end the inning. Cook struggled mightily earlier this season when pitching on back-to-back days. That doesn't seem to be much of an issue any more. He didn't allow a run in any of his last five outings. Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He walked one batter but struck out two. Grant Balfour entered the game in the ninth inning even though it wasn't a save situation. He retired the side in order to start the A's second celebration in three days. In the FieldIn the third inning the A's defense let down Griffin. Cruz hit a tricky pop up to shallow right field that Pennington had to try and make an over the shoulder catch on, but he dropped the ball. Without a chance to double off Hamilton at first base, he tossed the ball to second to get one out. The next batter stroked an RBI double.Later in the inning Napoli hit a sky-high pop up that third baseman Josh Donaldson appeared to have lost in the sun. He backed off and left it up to Kottaras to catch the ball, but he dropped it. The next batter smacked an RBI single. Donaldson made a slick sliding play to end the fifth inning. He came up with the ball got up and made a perfect throw to first. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 36,067. Dot Race Gold wins the dot race again. The A's were wearing the gold jerseys again as well.Up NextEveryone gets to watch the Orioles-Rays, and Red Sox-Yankees games to figure out the remaining scenarios. One thing is for sure. The A's are the AL West Champions. They will hit the road to play either Saturday or Sunday.

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox


CHICAGO -- The Oakland Athletics got a glimpse of their future on a day when the Chicago White Sox paid tribute to their past.

Matt Olson hit his first two major league home runs, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also launched their first career shots and the A's routed the White Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

Barreto homered in his big league debut. He joined Olson and Brugman in becoming the second trio of teammates to hit their first homers in the same game, the Elias Sports Bureau said. It also happened in 1914 with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League - the rival circuit lasted a couple of seasons, and included many big leaguers.

"They said something about it was the first time it has happened in a while. It's awesome to be able to share that moment with guys that I already built relationships with," said Olson, who played with Brugman and Barreto in the minors.

Former White Sox ace Mark Buehrle had his No. 56 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. After the 30-minute tribute ended, the A's roughed up James Shields (1-1).

Daniel Gossett (1-2) took advantage of an early 6-0 lead for his first win in the big league. He gave up two unearned runs in six innings.

"It was a special experience for everyone. To get out of there with my first win was just the icing on the cake. It was an awesome experience to be a part of and I'm glad I was here," Gossett said.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for the second straight game. He threw his hat to the ground and was tossed, right after third baseman Todd Frazier was ejected for showing his displeasure over a replay review that wasn't reversed.

"I thought it was quick," Frazier said. "I said some things that were borderline, I guess. But at the same time, it's just frustrating, man. You can't get the call right in New York as well, and they've got every different angle. They can zoom in as close as possible, and to think that they cannot make that call is just frustrating with the technology we have today. It's just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does."

After a leadoff walk in the first, Olson homered to right. He added a two-run homer in the seventh. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday and is in fourth stint with the club.

Brugman hit a solo drive in the second. Barreto had a two-run homer in the third.

Barreto, a top prospect in the Oakland organization, was called up after shortstop Chad Pinder injured his hamstring Friday night and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Barreto was a late addition to the lineup at second base when Jed Lowrie couldn't play after a mild knee injury he sustained Friday night. The newcomer went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

"Of anybody, you're not surprised. We've seen him hit homers in his first spring training at-bats, so not a total shock. But I think everybody kind of looked around and said, `Wow, I can't remember that ever happening before,'" A's manager Bob Melvin.

Shields gave up six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He allowed three home runs in his second start since a two-month DL stint.

Buehrle's number was stenciled onto the dirt behind second base. He went 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 390 appearances for Chicago from 2000-11. The lefty pitched two no-hitters for the White Sox, including a perfect game, and helped them win the 2005 World Series.

White Sox: All signs are pointing to LHP Carlos Rodon making his season debut sometime next week. Rodon, who has been out with a biceps bursitis injury, pitched Friday night for Triple-A Charlotte. Renteria was satisfied with the reports after his fourth rehab start.

"Another start last night. He went 4 1-3, 93 pitches. Actually, in talking to everybody, he threw pretty well. Had a couple miscues in the field that were probably limited his outing. He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that. According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back," Renteria said.

Gossett said the Oakland hitters made it easy for him in his third major league start.

"To see guys I've played with a little bit last year and this year, to see Barreto get his first hit and other guys get their first home runs, it's really special for them and I'm glad I was part of it," he said.

With wins Friday and Saturday, the A's snapped a streak of losing nine consecutive road series.

Despite the rough start, Shield reached 2,000th career strikeouts.

Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-3) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over his last five starts.

White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-7) is 1-4 with a 9.55 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his last five starts.

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Friday night was a bad night for a couple of former A's players.

After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rangers, first baseman Chris Carter was designated for assignment by the Yankees.

New York called up first base prospect Tyler Austin.

In 57 games with the Yankees, Carter his eight homers and drove in 23 runs, but he his just .204 with 70 strikeouts.

Derek Norris, an All-Star with the A's in 2014, was designated for assignment by the Rays after they activated offseason acquisition Wilson Ramos from the 60-day DL.

Norris clubbed nine homers and drove in 24 runs, but hit .201 in 53 games with the Tampa Bay.