Pratt's Instant Replay: A's stave off elimination

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's stave off elimination

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OAKLAND -- Facing elimination, the Oakland Athletics and their fans returned home knowing they had a tough task at hand. Riding the momentum of a sellout crowd, the A's jumped out to an early lead and played shutdown defense to declaw the Tigers.The A's won 2-0 behind a gutsy effort by recently-injured starting pitcher Brett Anderson. The last time he pitched was on Sept. 19, in Detroit, where he suffered a Grade 2 oblique strain. He ended up winning the game on Tuesday.Starting Pitching ReportAll the questions surrounding the health of Anderson were answered rather quickly. He struck out Tigers' leadoff hitter Austin Jackson on three pitches to start the game. Next Anderson struck out Omar Infante on four pitches and retired Miguel Cabrera on one pitch.Anderson got a little love from the glove of Coco Crisp to start the second inning. Prince Fielder launched a ball that would have been a homer had Crisp not made a spectacular catch to rob him. Anderson gave up back-to-back singles after Fielder's near homer, but worked his way out of the inning unscathed.Anderson caught another break in the third inning. He struck out Gerald Laird, but the ball got away from catcher Derek Norris. Laird started running to first but slowed down while turning around to check and see if the umpire determined he went around on his checked swing. That gave Norris enough time to throw to first to get the out. Anderson then had trouble finding the strike zone. He walked Jackson on four consecutive balls, but got Infante to ground into an inning-ending double play with Cabrera on deck. Anderson threw 39 pitches through three innings.Anderson retired nine of the next 10 batters to get through the sixth inning. He struck out Cabrera to end the top of the sixth and the sell-out crowd went crazy.Anderson finished the night with six shutout innings of two-hit ball. He struck out six batters and walked two. He got 10 groundouts and one fly out.Bullpen ReportRyan Cook took over in the seventh inning. He got a little help from Yoenis Cespedes as he robbed Fielder for the first out. Cook struck out Delmon Young for the second out. He gave up a single, but got Dirks to hit a lazy ball to left to left field to end the inning.Sean Doolittle entered in the eighth inning. He demolished the Tigers' hitters by striking out the side. Doolittle hit 96 miles per hour on his fastball.Grant Balfour entered in the ninth inning with the heart of the Tigers' lineup due up. He struck out Infante, gave up a single to Cabrera, and then got Fielder to ground into an game-ending double play for the save.At the PlateThe A's jumped out front for the third game in a row this series. Crisp and Stephen Drew each reached base to start the game. Yoenis Cespedes cracked a ball up the middle past a diving Infante to drive home Crisp and give the A's a 1-0 lead. With two on and no outs, Brandon Moss struck out looking and Josh Reddick grounded into an inning-ending double play.The A's had a chance to break the game open in the first inning but only scored one run. They doubled their run total when Seth Smith crushed a solo homer to center field off Tigers' starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Smith has three career homers in just 16 career at-bats against Sanchez.In the FieldThey said the A's backs were against the wall going into this game. Crisp's literally was as he made a leaping catch against the wall in right-center field to rob Prince Fielder of a home run to start the second inning. Fielder looked like he had a line-drive home run, Crisp somehow caught up to the ball at the height of his leap and got his glove on it.Stephen Drew made two nice ranging plays in the fourth inning. The first one he ranged to his left and made a 360-degree spin to throw out Cabrera. The second, he ranged all the way past second base and made an off balance throw to rob Fielder of a hit up the middle.Cespedes made a spectacular ranging catch to rob Fielder in the seventh inning. He looked like a panther stalking his prey as he got really low to the ground as he tracked the ball and went into a dive to catch the ball. Ironically, all the plays that made the "In the Field" section were to rob Fielder.AttendanceThe A's announced a sell-out attendance of 37,090. Warriors coach Mark Jackson was in the crowd.Dot RaceGold wins the dot race with the A's wearing white jerseys. The Dot Race is so much more intense during the postseason.Up NextA.J. Griffin gets the ball in Game Four. He was 7-1 this season, but his one loss came against the Tigers.Max Scherzer will be on the mound for the Tigers. He finished second in Major League Baseball with 231 strikeouts, trailing only Justin Verlander's 239.

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

MAN ON THE MOVE:
With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

UP NEXT:
Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's

Healy exits early, Blackburn suffers first loss with A's

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NEW YORK — Michael Conforto hit a pair of two-run homers and Jerry Blevins rescued the Mets' bullpen with a five-out save as New York held off the Oakland Athletics 7-5 on Friday night for its third straight victory.

T.J. Rivera put the Mets ahead in the sixth inning with a two-run single that turned into a Little League home run. Rivera came all the way around to score on the play after third baseman Matt Chapman, trying to get Rivera at second, threw the ball away into right field for a costly error that made it 5-3.

Moments earlier, New York loaded the bases when Lucas Duda's bad-hop infield single struck first baseman Ryon Healy near the temple. Healy left the game and walked off under his own power with a swollen bruise next to his left eye.

Conforto's second homer made it 7-3 in the seventh. Oakland rallied for two in the eighth, but Blevins replaced closer Addison Reed with the bases loaded and got five straight outs against his former team for his fifth major league save and first this season.

Normally a lefty specialist, Blevins recorded five outs in a game for the first time since 2014 with Washington. He retired All-Star slugger Yonder Alonso on a foul popup and struck out Khris Davis to escape the eighth-inning jam.

"We just tried to find some matchups that worked," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Yoenis Cespedes had three hits after raising eyebrows when he told the San Francisco Chronicle before the game that he wants to play the final season of his career in Oakland, his first big league team.

Cespedes, who signed a $110 million, four-year contract in the offseason to remain with the Mets, also said A's manager Bob Melvin is his favorite skipper and he doesn't think there's a better one.

"Bob's a great manager. I don't blame him," Collins said after the game. "This is the first I've heard of it."

After the game, Cespedes clarified his comments while speaking with reporters through a translator and said he meant no disrespect toward Collins or the Mets.