Pratt's Instant Replay: A's magical season ends


Pratt's Instant Replay: A's magical season ends


OAKLAND -- Six years ago to the day, Justin Verlander pitched Game 4 of the 2006 American League Championship Series and the Tigers swept the A's. Six years later he shut down the A's to again end Oakland's season, this time in the American League Division Series. Verlander was too good, and the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate and scored four runs in the seventh inning en route to a 6-0 win. Okay, now it's over. The A's offseason may be starting on Friday, but this team accomplished much more than anyone in their right mind expected. The A's won 94 games, the American League West, and clawed their way back from a two-game deficit to force a Game 5. This season led to the emergence of rookies Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Ryan Cook, Yoenis Cespedes, and Sean Doolittle as well as the breakout performances of Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss, Chris Carter, the late arrival of Josh Donaldson, and the return of Brett Anderson. And of course, the walk-off pies. 2012 may be over, but 2013 looks like it may pack some promise. The core of this A's team is intact for the future. Don't expect a firesale after this season. With the payroll at 52 million, they could potentially make additions. At the PlateThe reigning American League Cy Young and MVP flat out dominated the A's hitters. Verlander only allowed four hits in nine innings. He struck out 11 batters. The A's 50 strikeouts in this series broke the previous Oakland strikeout record of 43 for a five-game playoff series. Starting Pitching Report Jarrod Parker became the youngest pitcher in the last 15 years the start a deciding game in the playoffs. He looked like a veteran on the hill. Parker allowed four runs, in six and one-third innings of work. Two of those runs scored after Parker left the game. In two postseason starts he performed admirably. The A's can rest easy knowing they have an ace in the making in this talented young righty. Parker allowed a one-out double in the first inning to Quintin Berry. With Berry in scoring position Miguel Cabrera was on deck and Prince Fielder was in the hole. Parker got both of them to ground out to end the inning. In the second, Parker dispatched the Tigers with relative ease. He gave up a single to Andy Dirks on a controversial call. Replays showed that Dirks was actually out at first. The Tigers right fielder stole second to put some pressure on Parker. He responded by striking out Alex Avila to end the inning. The A's ran into trouble in the third inning. Parker allowed a leadoff single to Omar Infante and was charged with a wild pitch that moved him to second. Infante became the third Tigers player to reach second in as many innings. Austin Jackson ripped a double to left-center to put the Tigers on the board. He was bunted over to third and ended up scoring on a wild pitch. Parker pitched a three up, three down fourth inning, his first clean inning of the game. The Tigers got a runner on second in four of the first five innings. The young righty remained poised in big situations. He only had 70 pitches through six innings. In the seventh inning Parker allowed two singles and was lifted from the game with one out. He was pulled with 85 pitches and runners on the corners. A's manager Bob Melvin elected to go with Ryan Cook instead of Parker. That decision proved to be problematic. Bullpen ReportCook allowed an RBI single to Jackson to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. He then walked Berry to load the bases before plunking Cabrera in the shoulder with the bases loaded to make it 4-0. Jerry Blevins entered the game next. He allowed a bloop single to Fielder to make it 5-0. Young hit a sharp ball to Stephen Drew next and couldn't field it cleanly. Instead of a potential inning-ending double play the Tigers ended up scoring their sixth run. Blevins got a ground ball out of Dirks that allowed Pennington to throw Cabrera out at home. He then got a pop out to end the inning. Evan Scribner pitched a three up, three down eighth and ninth innings. Scribner didn't allow a run in his final six regular season appearances. He didn't disappoint on this evening. He might be a solid weapon for the A's next season. In the FieldPennington made a nice play on a ball hit up the middle by Dirks. He ranged to get to the ball and made a perfect off balance throw to first. First base umpire Scott Berry called Dirks safe. Replays showed he was out by a step. Dirks reached second with a stolen base. He ended up stranded there. Norris struggled in the third inning. Omar Infante led off with a single and advanced to second on a ball that got away from Norris. The passed ball issue popped up again when Norris wasn't able to block a ball that allowed Jackson to score. The Tigers only stole 59 bases this season but they ran all over the A's on Thursday night. They stole three bases against Parker and Norris. AttendanceThe A's announced a sellout crowd of 36,393. Dot RaceGold wins the dot race.Up NextThe A's pack their bags and get to enjoy some well-deserved time off with their families. It's never easy getting bounced out of the playoffs but the A's had a heck of a season. They have a lot to build on for the future. If the success of this team is any indicator, you can expect the A's to be back in contention. That's a lot more than anyone expected entering 2012. Free AgentsBrandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon, Brandon Inge, and Jonny Gomes are the A's only free agents. Stephen Drew can elect to test the open waters of free agency this offseason if he wants. The A's and Drew have a mutual option for 2012.

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.