Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 7, Athletics 2

854845.jpg

Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 7, Athletics 2

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's had won four games in a row. The Twins had lost five straight. Brandon McCarthy was 2-0 in four career starts against Minnesota. On paper, this game looked like an easy win. That's why they play the games.The Twins rocked starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy for six runs snapping all of the aforementioned streaks with a 7-2 victory over Oakland.While the final tally may be disappointing for A's fans, there was some news to pique their interests. The A's acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks for a Minor Leaguer during the game.Starting Pitching ReportThere has to be some concern about the health of starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who has been on the disabled list twice this season. The A's opening day starting pitcher is one of the most consistent pitchers in the American League when healthy. On Monday he allowed six runs -- all earned -- on 10 hits. He walked in a run and hit a batter. It very well could just be an off-night for the tall righty, but he didn't look like himself on the mound. McCarthy was out of control in the first inning. He walked in a run and hit a batter while throwing 32 pitches. The Twins collected three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third hit was an RBI double by Josh Willingham.Willingham added an RBI single in the second inning off McCarthy. The former A's hitter has five homers and 14 RBIs vs. his former team this season. The A's might need to consider a new approach with him. That, or just stop pitching to him all together.McCarthy settled down with a clean frame in the third inning. He gave up back-to-back hits to start the fourth inning. Darin Mastroianni bunted the runners into scoring position. Joe Mauer drove them both in with a two-run single to right field giving the Twins a 6-2 lead. That would be it for McCarthy. He only lasted three and one-third innings.Bullpen ReportTravis Blackley bailed out the A's bullpen. He allowed just one run over five and two-thirds innings. He gave up five hits and one walk.Coco Crisp made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in center field to rob Ryan Doumit of an extra-base hit in the ninth. After making the catch Crisp threw the ball in to cutoff man Adam Rosales who chucked the ball to first base to double off Justin Morneau. Blackley stood on the mound saluting Crisp, and clapped.At the PlateYoenis Cespedes sparked the A's offense. He beat out a throw from third base for an infield single, stole his 12th base uncontested, then scored easily on a Josh Donaldson double into the right-field gap. Cespedes' infield single was his 100th MLB hit.In the fourth inning Crisp reached base on an error, stole his 27th base, and advanced to third when the ball got away from shortstop Pedro Florimon. Crisp ended up scoring on an RBI groundout by Josh Reddick. Through four innings pretty much the only thing that was working for the A's was their base running.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 10,274.Dot RaceBlue wins the dot race in a photo finish with Red.Up NextThe highly anticipated return of Brett Anderson takes place on Tuesday. He underwent season-ending "Tommy John" surgery in 2011. Anderson is confident that he is ready to return.The Twins will be sending Cole De Vries (2-4, 5.04 ERA) to the mound. De Vries is 0-2 with a 9.49 in his last three starts. He gave up seven runs on July 14 against Oakland.

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

A's lineup: Alonso returns for opener against Marlins

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Marlins-A's coverage begins at 6pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After missing four games, Yonder Alonso is back in the lineup as the A's begin a series against the Marlins Tuesday night.

Miami Marlins:
1. Dee Gordon (L) 2B
2. Giancarlo Stanton (R) RF
3. Christian Yelich (L) CF
4. Marcell Ozuna (R) DH
5. Justin Bour (L) 1B
6. J.T. Realmuto (R) C
7. Derek Dietrich (L) 3B
8. J.T. Riddle (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) LF
Jose Urena -- RHP

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) RF
2. Mark Canha (R) CF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Adam Rosales (R) SS
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

Pinder's potential 'coming to fruition' in chance with A's

OAKLAND — With so much attention focused on who might be the next wave of A’s infielders coming up from the minors, Chad Pinder is making quite a statement in the present.

Pinder enjoyed another big day at the plate Sunday with a two-run homer and a double in the A’s 12-3 loss to Boston. That came on the heels of Saturday’s 460-foot home run that made him just the fifth player to reach the second deck just above the Coliseum’s first level of luxury suites.

For fans around the country who might have seen that mammoth blast on highlight shows, it likely was their first introduction to the 25-year-old Virginia native. However, those within the organization witnessed Pinder’s steady rise through the farm system since he was drafted as a sandwich pick between the second and third rounds of the 2013 draft out of Virginia Tech.

“I don’t think it’s a shock what he’s doing,” said A’s designated hitter Ryon Healy, who was part of that same draft class. “I think he’s always been that caliber of player. He’s always had that potential and it’s coming to fruition right now and it’s really fun to watch.”

Pinder, who made his big league debut in September but began this season with Triple-A Nashville, is hitting .286 over 21 games with Oakland. He’s homered in four of his past eight, and he provided a boost over the weekend as the A’s took three of four from the Red Sox.

The right-handed hitting Pinder was in the lineup all four games — with the Red Sox starting lefties on the mound for the final three contests, the A’s stacked their lineup with righties, giving Pinder a stretch of consistent playing time.

He’s provided enough of a spark that he warrants consideration to remain in the lineup even though the A’s are scheduled to face right-handers during their two-game series with the Miami Marlins that begins Tuesday at the Coliseum.

Granted, it’s not the biggest sample size either way, but Pinder is actually hitting better against righties (.348, 8-for-23) than he is against lefties (.231, 6-for-26). Four of his five home runs also have come against right-handers.

Asked whether Pinder could draw more starts against right-handers, A’s manager Bob Melvin replied: “Potentially, yeah. You want to try to stay consistent with the lineups you have, but if you have a hot hand, you look for ways to get him in there.”

Working in Pinder’s advantage is the versatility he’s shown since being recalled from Nashville on April 16. The A’s always knew Pinder could handle second, shortstop or third as needed, but he’s also shown to be a capable option in right field with a strong arm for the outfield.

Pinder was the Texas League (Double-A) Player of the Year in 2015 and ranked No. 7 on Baseball America’s preseason list of A’s prospects. He’s making the most of his time in the majors.

On the minds of many Oakland fans is when a couple more infield prospects who are impressing at Triple-A — middle infielder Franklin Barreto and third baseman Matt Chapman — might get their first crack in the bigs.

Barreto, ranked as the No. 25 overall prospect in the majors in Baseball America’s most recent ratings, is hitting .311 with six homers and is tied with Matt Olson for Nashville’s RBI lead at 27. Chapman, ranked the 95th overall prospect, missed two weeks earlier this season with a wrist injury but has shown signs of heating up offensively. He’s hitting just .237 but has eight homers and 15 RBI.

Two other Nashville players, who have both seen time with the A’s, are putting up noteworthy numbers: Olson, a first baseman/outfielder, is hitting .276 with 10 homers and 27 RBI, and corner infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 12 homers to go with a .245 average and 25 RBI.

The A’s are working with Barreto and Chapman to hone their approach at the plate and control the strike zone. General manager David Forst maintains the A’s will be patient with both, noting that Pinder benefited last year from a full season at Triple-A before his promotion.

“The calendar needs to turn over,” Forst said. “They need at-bats. Matt missed a couple weeks with the injury, but they just need more days and more at-bats. We don’t have an ‘X’ on the calendar anywhere where this is the day. We’ll know when it’s time.”