Pratt's Instant Replay: Rangers 5, Athletics 4


Pratt's Instant Replay: Rangers 5, Athletics 4


ARLINGTON -- The A's lost another one in heartbreaking fashion on Monday. They held the lead until the seventh inning, when Adrian Beltre tied the game with a two-run homer. The Rangers' third baseman ended the game with a walk-off single in the ninth off reliever Tyson Ross. Beltre, who twice turned down the A's when they tried to sign him, has been a major problem for Oakland over the years. With the win the Rangers' magic number to clinch the American League West is five. Starting Pitching ReportDan Straily took the mound in what is without a doubt the biggest start of his career. He had already lost his spot in the rotation once when Brett Anderson came back from the DL, and it looked like he was in jeopardy of losing it again when the A's decided to go with Travis Blackley instead of Straily on Saturday in New York. Straily showed some serious intestinal fortitude early in the game. His defense let him down twice in the first two innings. Cliff Pennington couldn't come up with a ball in the first that was hit right to him, and in the second inning Josh Donaldson was charged with an error after he made a tough throw to first base that Chris Carter couldn't pick out of the dirt. As a result of the error the Rangers had runners on the corners and one out. Straily responded by striking out Mike Napoli. Mitch Moreland came up next and hit a bloop single to left field that Brandon Moss got a late break on. That put the Rangers on the board. The inning would have been over after the Napoli strikeout, but it raged on instead. Ian Kinsler drew a walk to load the bases. Straily buckled down and struck out Elvis Andrus swinging to end the inning in what could have been a game-changing situation. The pitch he threw Andrus was a four-seam fastball. The A's scored a run in the third and Straily responded with a shutdown inning. He struck out Josh Hamilton swinging to start the inning. Hamilton had just returned from missing time with a sinus issue and blurred vision. Four of the five pitches Straily threw were change ups, likely testing out the slugger's eyes. Hamilton proved there is nothing wrong with his vision by clobbering a change up 441 feet for his 43rd homer of the year.In the fourth inning Straily was tested again after yet another defensive miscue. Carter made a two-base error on an ball grounded right at him. With runners on second and third with two outs Straily sat down Kinsler with a perfectly located 90 MPH for a called third strike. Straily's strikeout of Kinsler was his eighth of the night, matching a career-high. Straily pitched very well when the A's needed it most. He lasted six and two-thirds innings, gave up five hits, two runs -- one earned -- and two walks. He left with a two-run lead. At the PlateThe A's struck the first blow on a Josh Donaldson two-run homer to left field that traveled an estimated 416 feet. The "Bringer of Rain" now has eight home runs this season, and seven of them have come in the 38 games since he was re-called up on August 14. Yoenis Cespedes pulled a screaming ball into the left field stands to give the A's a 3-1 lead. It was his 21st of the year. Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland has allowed 19 homers since July 7, which is the most in Major League Baseball over that span. He was removed from the game after completing the third inning. The A's plated their fourth run in the sixth inning on a Cliff Pennington RBI single to left field. He hit the ball on the screws. Brandon Moss led off the inning with a double and almost scored on a hard-hit ball by Derek Norris but Beltre was able to knock the ball down and prevent it from getting into the outfield. Josh Reddick went 0 for 3 at the plate. One of his at-bats came with Moss in scoring position. He smashed his bat down in anger as he extended his career-worst hitless streak to 0 for 27. He did draw a four-pitch walk though. Bullpen ReportA's manager Bob Melvin lifted Straily with two outs in the seventh inning as Hamilton was due up. He elected to put in Jerry Blevins, who Hamilton is 0 for 5 in his career against. Blevins walked Hamilton and was removed from the game. Pat Neshek got the call next to face Beltre. He hit a two-run game-tying home run. Ryan Cook retired the Rangers in order in the eighth inning. It was a solid outing for the reliever, who was pitching on his third consecutive day. The A's brought in Tyson Ross to pitch the ninth inning. He promptly allowed back-to-back singles. The Rangers bunted the runners over to second and third and that brought up Hamilton, who was intentionally walked to load the bases. Beltre stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning RBI single. In the FieldThe Rangers seemed to get a swing in momentum when Hamilton hit his 43rd of the year. Beltre followed with a double to right-center field. With Nelson Cruz batting a ball skipped in front of Norris and Beltre got a little greedy and strayed too far from second base. Norris made a perfect throw to Pennington to cut down Beltre as he tried to dive back to the bag. It would prove to be a huge out as Cruz doubled moments later. Instead of scoring a run, the Rangers ended up with a donut in the run column for the inning all thanks to Norris' throw. AttendanceThe Rangers announced an attendance of 43,044, the third largest crowd in Arlington on a Monday this season. Rangers RacetimeA race featuring historical figures of Texas' past was won by a sprinting Sam Houston.Up NextTommy Milone (13-10, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound against Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA) on Tuesday.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.

BART, transportation among issues A's tackling in ballpark search

BART, transportation among issues A's tackling in ballpark search

MESA, Ariz. — The research and fact-finding continues for the A’s as they work toward deciding where to build their new ballpark in Oakland.

Team president Dave Kaval, in Arizona to briefly soak up the spring training vibe, says the team is still gathering all the information it can on the four locations being considered — the current Coliseum site, Howard Terminal, Laney College and Brooklyn Basin, which like Howard Terminal is a waterfront site.

Place an asterisk next to “four,” because as Kaval explains, there’s multiple spots a ballpark could be built at some of the locations.

For example, “there’s a couple different ways in the Lake Merritt area to orient a ballpark,” he said Sunday. “Each one has to be studied individually, because there’s traffic and parking issues that change depending on where you put it. There’s a couple ways it can work in and around Lake Merritt. So we kind of are looking at it as two different options.”

The research will continue for the “next couple of months,” according to Kaval, meaning it doesn’t seem any decision is forthcoming soon. But he reiterated that an announcement will come during 2017.

Kaval was asked how important it was for a ballpark to be near a BART station.

“I think if you’re in a certain range of a BART station, it doesn’t matter if it’s one block or two blocks,” he said. “But if you start getting a little farther, it does change people’s willingness to actually take that public transportation to the venue.”

Howard Terminal, located just north of Jack London Square, is a 20-25 minute walk to the nearest current BART station (12th Street). There’s been speculation that a new station could be built closer to Howard Terminal if a stadium went up. Kaval also said the A’s would consider some sort of shuttle service were they to build at Howard Terminal, and they’re researching the ferry options for such a location.

Long story short, there’s still plenty of transportation and environmental issues to sort out before the A’s settle on a site to build. In the meantime, fans will be in for a treat in the upcoming season when they arrive at the Coliseum.

The A’s gutted the West Side Club and are rebuilding it as Shibe Park Tavern, named after the franchise’s former home in Philadelphia. It will include bricks and other materials from the old ballpark, obtained from the Philadelphia Historical Society.

The A’s will also launch “Champions Pavilion”, which will include anywhere from eight to 16 local food trucks that will be stationed between the Coliseum and Oracle Arena during most home games. Ticket holders will have in/out privileges, with video monitors outside showing the game.

Nights when there’s a Warriors home game could make it tougher to pull off the full operation — Warriors playoff games will be a particular challenge, Kaval said — but the A’s will work with the Coliseum’s Joint Powers Authority to smooth things out as much as possible.

According to Kaval, the A’s are spending between $600,000-$700,000 to improve the current in-house concession stands, making it possible to cook inside the stands themselves as opposed to transporting food from the kitchen.

The efforts received a thumbs-up from A’s manager Bob Melvin.

“We’re there until we’re not,” Melvin said of the Coliseum. “We’re gonna be there for a period of time, so I appreciate the fact that he’s trying to spruce it up a little bit for our fans, give them more options for food and just create a better atmosphere in our ballpark.”