Pratt's Instant Replay: Rangers 5, Athletics 4

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Rangers 5, Athletics 4

BOX SCORE

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.

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

NEW YORK — A weekend that began with promise instead wound up feeling like another lost opportunity for the A’s.

Their defense once again paved the way to their undoing Sunday, and there were plenty of players willing to accept responsibility for a 9-5 loss to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series in the Bronx.

When right fielder Matt Joyce had a catchable fly ball pop out of his glove for a third-inning error that loaded the bases, it seemed inevitable the mistake would come back to haunt the A’s.

On cue, one-time Oakland draft pick Aaron Judge drilled an opposite-field grand slam off Andrew Triggs to a turn a 2-1 A’s lead into a 5-2 deficit. Joyce said he couldn’t stomach to watch the replay of his missed catch afterward.

“It just hit my glove and I dropped it,” Joyce said. “Obviously that’s pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation. For me, I think that’s an easy play. It’s a little embarrassing. It’s obviously really frustrating, especially with what it led to.”

The A’s (22-27) chalked up two more errors, giving them a staggering 49 in 49 games played. When play began Sunday, they had at least 10 more errors than every other big league club. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they also lead the majors with 35 unearned runs, after five of the nine runs they surrendered Sunday were unearned.

That kind of bumbling play in the field is making it difficult for the A’s to maintain leads when they claim one, and tough to mount comebacks when they fall behind. In a factoid that helps explain why the A’s likely find themselves looking at another summer of selling off veterans, they have won just one of the eight road series they’ve played in 2017. Their 7-17 record away from Oakland is second worst in the American League.

The A’s took Friday’s series opener 4-1 but dropped the final two to the AL East leaders.

“I’ve said often, there’s a psychology to it too,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You feel like you have a chance to battle and come back and score some runs, and when your defense is poor, sometimes mentally it’s tough to overcome or get past it. We just have to keep working on it.”

Leading 5-2, New York added to its lead in the fourth with help from a Josh Phegley throwing error on Aaron Hicks’ stolen base. Hicks wound up on third and came home on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. The A’s pulled to within 7-5 on Khris Davis’ 15th homer which in the eighth, a two-run shot. But the Yankees answered right back with two more off reliever John Axford, who hurt his cause with two walks.

There were other mishaps that didn’t cost the A’s runs, like Davis making a poor throw to third that allowed a Yankee runner to advance an extra base, and third baseman Ryon Healy losing a foul pop up in the sun.

Regardless of the defensive issues, A’s starter Andrew Triggs wasn’t looking to hand off blame. Just one of the six runs he allowed was earned over his six innings. But Triggs still had a chance to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third if he could have retired Judge with two outs and the bases loaded. Instead he left a 2-1 sinker over the plate and Judge mashed it over the right field wall.

“In my mind it was either sinker away or sinker in, and I thought away was better,” Triggs said. “But you gotta execute the pitch and I didn’t.”

It was the first career grand slam for Judge, who was drafted in the 31st round out of high school by Oakland in 2010 but opted to attend Fresno State. The Yankees took him in the first round in 2013, and in clubbing his 16th homer Sunday (tying him with Mike Trout for the league lead), Judge continued building his strong early case for the Rookie of the Year award.

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

A's fall short of series win vs Yankees after Judge's grand slam

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam and the New York Yankees took full advantage of Oakland's shoddy defense Sunday in a 9-5 victory over the Athletics.

Michael Pineda (6-2) tossed six innings of three-hit ball to win his third straight start. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter each had an early sacrifice fly as the AL East leaders scored five unearned runs and took two of three in a well-pitched series.

Judge connected with two outs in the third for his 16th home run, tying Mike Trout of the Angels for the big league lead. The drive landed in the right-field seats, not far in front of The Judge's Chambers cheering section installed by the Yankees for the 6-foot-7 rookie at the start of this 4-2 homestand.

Khris Davis hit his 15th home run for the A's, who committed two more costly errors to raise their season total to 49. They began the day with 10 more than any other team in the majors.

The fielding failures put starter Andrew Triggs (5-4) in tough situations. He went six innings and gave up one earned run - but even that could have been prevented if not for a poor throw by the weak-armed Davis in left.

Gary Sanchez added an RBI double in the seventh that squirmed out of the glove of a diving Davis. Brett Gardner drove in two insurance runs with a pop-fly double in the eighth.

Adam Warren retired all four batters he faced for his first save since July 28, 2015.

The Yankees trailed 2-1 when Ronald Torreyes reached on a soft infield single leading off the third, and Sanchez singled with one out. Matt Joyce then dropped Matt Holliday's fly ball in the right-field corner for an error that loaded the bases.

After Starlin Castro struck out, Judge lined a fastball the other way to put New York ahead. Triggs had given up just three home runs in his first nine starts this year.

Hicks stole second in the fourth and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Josh Phegley. That set up Carter's sacrifice fly, which made it 6-2.

And while Triggs' defense was betraying him, New York's fielders gave Pineda a big boost when he needed it.

With nobody out in the second, Ryon Healy was thrown out by Gardner trying to stretch a two-run single to left field. Torreyes followed with a diving play at third base.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso was back in the lineup after missing three games with a sore right wrist. ... CF Rajai Davis was rested in favor of Mark Canha, who batted leadoff for the first time in his major league career. ... One-time closer Sean Doolittle, on the DL since April 30 with a strained left shoulder, threw 20 pitches Saturday and felt good, according to manager Bob Melvin. "So we'll figure out the next step here in the next day or so," Melvin said. ... Oakland plans to put RHP Kendall Graveman (shoulder) on the 10-day disabled list Monday and recall RHP Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville to make his first big league start of the season in Cleveland.

Yankees: Slumping 3B Chase Headley was given a second consecutive day off to work on his swing. He'll return to the lineup Monday, manager Joe Girardi said. ... All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) was scheduled to throw for the second straight day before a day off in his program Monday.

UP NEXT

Athletics: The 24-year-old Mengden began the season on the disabled list following surgery on his right foot. He was activated May 20 and optioned to Triple-A Nashville. Including his rehab assignment, Mengden is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA in four Triple-A starts this year. He reached the majors for the first time last season and went 2-9 with a 6.50 ERA in 14 starts for Oakland. RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.93) pitches for the AL champion Indians.

Yankees: Begin a seven-game road trip Monday afternoon in Baltimore, with rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30 ERA) on the mound against Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92).