Pratt's Instant Replay: Royals 2, A's 0

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Royals 2, A's 0

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The A's haven't scored a run since Tuesday. The reintroduction of their clean-up hitter Yoenis Cespedes wasn't enough to save them. The Royals won the game 2-0, handing the A's their ninth straight loss. The A's offense has now been shutout 10 times this season, which is the most in Major League Baseball. How bad has the offense gotten? They have been shutout six times in their last sixteen games. The A's have the lowest team batting average (.208) in the majors by a wide margin. They also have the lowest slugging percentage (.332) and second lowest on-base percentage (.288) in all of baseball.Starting Pitching ReportBartolo Colon throws 88 percent fastballs. Every hitter in the league knows it. With the guess work out of the equation, hitters are gripping it and ripping it against him.Colon ran into trouble in the first inning, allowing two runs. After walking leadoff hitter Alex Gordon, Colon gave up an RBI double to Yuniesky Betancourt. Mike Moustakas followed with an RBI single.
In the third inning, Colon pitched out of a one-out bases-loaded jam. From there, Colon settled down and retired ten straight hitters. He ended up with seven innings pitched, scattering eight hits, walking two and striking out three.
At the PlateWith Cespedes the A's are 15-14. Without him they are 7-15. During his absence A's cleanup hitters batted .185. On Friday Cespedes was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Not the impact the team had hoped for.A's hitters were retired in order in the second, fifth, sixth and seventh innings on Friday.Things looked promising when Weeks started the game with a lead-off double, which extended his hitting streak to eight games. The A's weren't able to capitalize. Seth Smith struck out looking, Josh Reddick flew out the center field, and Yoenis Cespedes struck out swinging.In the third inning, Weeks started a two-out rally with an infield single. After Smith walked, Weeks made a curious decision to attempt to steal third. He was caught stealing with Reddick at the plate.Bullpen ReportAndrew Carignan entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched two-thirds of an inning, walking one and striking out one. He was relieved by Jerry Blevins who came in to retire the left-handed hitting Eric Hosmer.In the FieldIn the bottom of the first, Coco Crisp tracked a hard-hit ball by Jeff Francouer into the gap in left-center field, crashing into the electronic scoreboard and making the catch. He looked a little banged up after the play but he stayed in the game. Crisp looks motivated to keep his center field job now that the A's have moved Cespedes to left field.In the bottom of the third, the Royals had the bases loaded with no outs before Hosmer hit a week ball to Colon, who went home for the force out. Next Alcides Escobar hit a grounder up the middle, Cliff Pennington scooped it up, flipped it to Weeks, who caught the ball barehanded and fired to first -- just beating Escobar to the bag.Up NextBrandon McCarthy (3-3, 2.95 ERA) returns from the disabled list. McCarthy was shut down with irregular soreness in his right shoulder on May 19. At the time, he told me he was taking extra rest for precautionary measures, and that he doesn't have the same scapula pain in his shoulder that forced him to miss six weeks last season. This season he has averaged 90.8 MPH on his fastball, which is nearly identical to last season. McCarthy will be opposed by Luke Hochevar (3-5, 6.19 ERA), who hasn't won a game since May 12.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

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Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

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The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.

Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.

In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.

Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:

-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.

-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.

-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.

--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.

-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

A's lineup: Young faces throughout as Athletics start series vs White Sox

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Astros-A's coverage begins at 4 p.m. with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

The latest A's youth movement embarks on its first road trip when they visit the south side of Chicago and the White Sox. Manager Bob Melvin has issued his lineup for Game 1 of the series.

Chicago White Sox:
1. Melky Cabrera (S) LF
2. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
4. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
5. Matt Davidson (R) DH
6. Tim Anderson (R) SS
7. Yolmer Sanchez (S) 2B
8. Kevan Smith (R) C
9. Adam Engel (R) CF
RHP -- Mike Pelfrey 

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Chad Pinder (R) SS
8. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
RHP -- Jharel Cotton