Pratt's Instant Replay: Yankees 10, A's 9 (14 inn.)


Pratt's Instant Replay: Yankees 10, A's 9 (14 inn.)


NEW YORK -- The A's and Yankees engaged in what felt like a 10-round prize fight at Yankee Stadium. Each team at one point held the lead as the two playoff-contending clubs exchanged blows. For the second game in a row the A's and Yanks played into extra innings. Both team's starting pitcher lasted less than three innings, and the game went 14 frames.In the 13th inning the A's delivered a devastating combination. Jonny Gomes crushed a two-run blast to take the lead, Yoenis Cespedes sent them reeling with a beastly cut that sent the ball deep into the second deck in Yankee stadium. Then Chris Carter delivered a mighty blow, a solo blast that landed in the second deck to give the A's a 9-5 lead. It was the first time in franchise history that the A's hit three homers in extra innings.The Yankees got treated by their cornerman and came out swinging in the bottom half of the inning. They rallied for two runs before Raul Ibanez clubbed his second home run of the game, a game-tying two-run shot to even the score at nine.The Bronx Bombers dealt the knockout blow in the 14th inning when they loaded the bases and pushed across the winning run on a fielding error by Brandon Moss. The Yankees won the game 10-9. The game lasted five hours and 43 minutes.Starting Pitching ReportBlackley ranks second in the American League with seven pickoffs. His move is so good that is sometimes fools the umpires and the base runner. Blackley had Alex Rodriguez dead-to-rights at first base, but the second base umpire Larry Vanover called a balk on Blackley and awarded Rodriguez second base. The same scenario played out on July 18 against the Rangers.According to rule 8.05 of MLB's official rule book, a balk is when: "the pitcher, while touching his plate, makes any motion naturally associated with his pitch and fails to make such delivery."The rule book adds that it is also a balk if: "The pitcher, while touching his plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base."Blackley says the idea of a pick off move is to make it look like you are going home. That's where the deception lies. The call changed the course of the entire game. Rodriguez came around to score the tying run when Robinson Cano hit a single. Five more batters came to the plate in the inning. Blackley appeared to be rattled by the call and ended up walking Andruw Jones with the bases loaded to make it 3-2.Things didn't much better for Blackley. A's infielders committed two errors behind him and a wild pitch scored the Yankees fourth run of the game.The Australian-born pitcher only lasted two innings. Yankees' starting pitcher Ivan Nova lasted two and one-third. This game was settled by the bullpens.At the PlateThe A's started the game with back-to-back-to-back doubles to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Stephen Drew, Seth Smith, and Yoenis Cespedes did the damage. Drew smashed his sixth home run of the season to leadoff the third inning. The ball landed on the netting atop Monument Park where the Yankees keep plaques honoring their legends.The A's loaded the bases with one out in third inning after Drew's homer. Cespedes drew a walk, Brandon Moss hit a bloop single, and Chris Carter drew a walk. Josh Reddick, now batting sixth, stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and grounded out to the pitcher who started an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Reddick's teammates picked him up in the next inning. Josh Donaldson was hit in the knee by a pitch and later came around to score on a Cliff Pennington RBI single.Moss recorded his third hit of the day in the seventh inning. His single moved Cespedes to third base. Chris Carter then tied the game at five with a sacrifice fly hit just deep enough to center field to allow Cespedes to score and Moss to move up to second. Reddick then hit a ball to shallow center to end the inning. Reddick might have gotten a hit but Curtis Granderson was playing shallow. Nothing is going Reddick's way at the plate lately. The A's rallied again in the eighth inning. Josh Donaldson hit a leadoff double and ended up on third when Pennington reached on a walk and Drew grounded out moving over the runners. With runners on second and third and one out Jonny Gomes entered the game as a pinch-hitter and got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cespedes flew out to center field to end the inning. The A's have had trouble getting the big hits without Coco Crisp out of the lineup.The A's again loaded the bases in the 11th inning and again couldn't score. Chris Carter drew a walk to load the bases and Reddick again found himself at the plate in a high leverage situation. He pulled a liner toward right field but Yankees' first baseman Steve Pearce made a diving play to rob Reddick. The slumping right fielder hit several balls hard but couldn't catch a break.The A's decided they were done messing around in the 13th inning. Gomes clobbered his 17th home run of the season to give the A's a 7-5 lead, Cespedes clubbed No. 20, a tape-measure blast that landed deep in the second deck, and Carter sent his 15th of the year into the second deck in left field as well to give the A's a 9-5 lead.Bullpen ReportJim Miller entered the game in the third inning and quieted the Yankees bats. He retired six of the first eight batters he faced, and issued two walks. Miller cruised through two scoreless innings before Raul Ibanez connected on a pinch-hit homer to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. The ball Ibanez hit would have been a routine fly ball in the Oakland Coliseum. Miller pitched three plus innings and and only allowed one run and three hits.Jerry "The Magician" Blevins entered the game and walked Rodriguez intentionally. With runners on first and second he got Cano to ground into the inning-ending double play. He fell victim to some bad defense in the seventh inning. Nick Swisher hit a leadoff single that fell between three defenders and then he hit Ibanez before being lifted from the game with two on and no outs.A's manager Bob Melvin called on Ryan Cook to try and clean up the mess. He mopped up better than the Sham-Wow guy on his best day. The runners were moved to second and third on a bunt, then Cook got Granderson to pop out into foul territory and then struck out pinch-hitter Eric Chavez looking with a perfectly placed four-seam fastball. Cook pitched a three up, three down inning in the eighth. He hasn't allowed a run in 15 of his last 16 outings.Closer Grant Balfour took over in the ninth inning. He hadn't pitched in four days. He pitched two scoreless innings and allowed one hit. Evan Scribner pitched the biggest two innings of his career. Things got especially dicey in the 12th inning when the Yankees loaded the bases. A play at the plate kept the game going and the young reliever got Derek Jeter to fly out to end the inning.Pedro Figueroa entered the game with a four-run lead in the bottom of the 13th. He promptly gave up three singles and was pulled with the bases loaded no outs. Pat Neshek entered and allowed a run to score immediately on a passed ball. He allowed a sacrifice fly to make it 9-7, and gave up a game-tying two-run blast to Ibanez.Tyson Ross started the 14th inning. The Yankees loaded the bases against him when Rodriguez hit a single that everyone thought won the game but rookie pinch-runner Melky Mesa missed third base. Ross then fielded a comebacker hit by Cano that was juggled and bobbled before he corralled it in and threw home for the force out. Ross looked like he got out of the jam but Moss made an error on a ground ball hit to first which ended the game.In the FieldCespedes flashed his throwing arm again on Saturday after fielding a single and then throwing a rocket to third base to nail Ichiro. It is the second time in as many games that Cespedes has thrown out Ichiro trying to take an extra base. Cespedes has nine outfield assists this season which leads all American League rookies. Josh Donaldson and Cliff Pennington both committed errors on fairly routine plays. The ball Donaldson missed was hit pretty hard and took a tough hop. Pennington completely mishandled a softly hit ball.The A's defensive issues continued in the seventh inning. Nick Swisher hit a shallow pop up that fell between three A's defenders. Pennington appeared to call for the ball and put his hand up, Cespedes backed off when he probably should have taken charge, and Reddick came flying through the middle of them trying to make the play.One of the biggest moments in the game came in the 12th inning with Ibanez on third and one out. Russell Martin hit a sharp grounder to Pennington who threw home to Norris. Ibanez came crashing into Norris trying to pry the ball loose but the burly catcher held on for the out.Moss' fielding error sealed the deal in the 14th inning. He ranged left on a ball that he couldn't come up with cleanly and the winning run scored.AttendanceThe Yankees announced an attendance of 44,026.Subway RaceThe Yankees do a subway race. The green train won. The color of the opposing team never wins the dot race in Oakland. Especially now that the dots are green, gold, and white.Up NextA.J. Griffin (6-1, 2.45 ERA) pitches for the A's in the series finale. He became the first Oakland pitcher to start his career 6-0 but lost his last decision. Right-handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (14-10, 3.26 ERA) will take the mound for the Yankees.

One-time A's draft pick Aaron Judge now toast of New York


One-time A's draft pick Aaron Judge now toast of New York

Long before Yankees rookie Aaron Judge was gracing Sports Illustrated covers and taking part in “Tonight Show” skits, the A’s had visions of the hulking outfielder wearing green and gold.

Oakland was the first team to draft Judge, when he was a three-sport star coming out of tiny Linden High School, about 50 miles southeast of Sacramento.

The A’s took him in the 31st round of the 2010 draft but weren’t able to sign Judge, who was firmly set on attending Fresno State. Three years later, New York grabbed him in the first round of the 2013 draft. Now Judge is the latest Bronx sensation, the major league co-leader with 15 home runs and having shown off his comedic skills by starring in a man-on-the-street skit for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

On Friday, he’ll face the A’s for the first time when they begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. But Oakland’s front office and scouting department long have been familiar with the 6-foot-7, 282-pound right fielder.

Jermaine Clark, the A’s area scout who followed Judge during his high school career, recently dusted off a scouting report he filed back in 2010 on Judge.

“Big kid with a body to dream on,” the report read. “Untapped monster.”

While at Linden, Judge also starred in football and basketball, and he was a dominant pitcher and first baseman. The problem was Linden played in a small league against competition that didn’t approach the best prep baseball leagues in California.

Clark recalls entering Judge’s information into the A’s database.

“I remember putting his schedule in the computer, and none of the schools he was playing registered in our system,” Clark said.

But the A’s recognized the physical tools. They invited Judge to take part in a workout at the Coliseum leading up to the 2010 draft, an event they plan annually for some of the best draft hopefuls in Northern California.

“He definitely made a good impression,” A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said. “You’d have to be blind to not see the physicality and athleticism. That’s the kind of thing that jumps out on the field. He’s bigger and more athletic than any guy he’s around.”

Still, he wasn’t a slam-dunk choice to be taken high in the 2010 draft. In a time when the majority of top baseball prospects grow up as one-sport specialists, playing the game year-round, Judge was a throwback to the athlete who dabbled in multiple sports. Therefore, his skills on the diamond weren’t as polished, and his 6-foot-7 height also worked against him.

“The frame was so long that things didn’t look so fluid,” Clark said.

The A’s took a flyer on Judge, as Kubota put it, drafting him in the 31st round but knowing it was a long shot that he would sign. Both of Judge’s parents are retired teachers, and a college education was important to them.

So why waste a draft pick on him at all?

“Many of these kids that get drafted late in the draft, clubs don’t have the wherewithal to go sign them,” said A’s special assistant Grady Fuson, who’s heavily involved in the team’s scouting. “But sometimes you take those guys because things change over the summer” regarding a player’s decision-making.

Attempts to arrange a phone interview with Judge were unsuccessful. But over the winter, he discussed the A’s drafting him with The Record newspaper in Stockton.

“I was drafted in high school but made the choice to go to college,” Judge said. “I wasn’t mature enough at that point to get right into minor league baseball. I learned from some great coaches at Fresno. It really helped prepare me.”

The Yankees drafted him with the 32nd overall pick in 2013, a draft that was deep in quality collegiate outfielders. Eight picks before that, at No. 24, the A’s selected Texas high school outfielder Billy McKinney.

“I think in general we’re always looking for the player we like best when he’s available at that pick,” Kubota said. “That’s how it worked out.”

In July 2014, the A’s packaged McKinney along with their top prospect at the time, Addison Russell, and right-hander Dan Straily and traded him to the Cubs for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, a trade that in hindsight still has A’s fans slapping their foreheads.

Last season, the Cubs dealt McKinney to the Yankees as part of another high-profile trade that landed Aroldis Chapman in Chicago.

How did the A’s and so many other clubs pass on Judge throughout the first round in 2013? Keep in mind that Mike Trout somehow lasted until the 25th pick in the 2009 draft, when the Los Angeles Angels finally scooped him up.

The draft is an inexact science in which some players blossom, some fail, and some wind up starring for other teams. But when Judge takes the field against the A’s this weekend, Kubota said he won’t be watching through the lens of what could have been.

“I think in general we root for kids from Northern California, we root for kids we drafted,” he said. “Ideally we’d love them to be doing it in white spikes, but we’re happy to watch them succeed no matter where they’re at.”

Gray strikes out 11, Davis homers in A's 4-1 win over Marlins

Gray strikes out 11, Davis homers in A's 4-1 win over Marlins


OAKLAND -- Sonny Gray wanted to lighten the mood in the Athletics' clubhouse before the game so he lit a few candles in an adjacent locker, lowered the lights and had peaceful, pan-flute music piped into the overhead speakers.

Then the Oakland ace went out and put the Miami Marlins' offense to sleep with his best outing in two years.

Gray struck out a season-high 11 over seven innings, Khris Davis homered and the A's beat the Marlins 4-1 on Wednesday.

"We were just getting everybody nice and relaxed," Gray said of his pregame routine. "It was a good way to start the day. If we're going to put this thing together here . we're going to have to get everyone together and that's just a little way to do that."

Jed Lowrie matched his career high with four hits including two doubles, and Matt Joyce reached base three times and scored to help the A's earn a split of the two-game interleague series.

Gray (2-1) was dominant while earning his second straight win. The right-hander, who began the season on the disabled list because of a strained lat, retired the first nine batters, struck out the side twice and pitched out of a pair of jams to strand runners at third. Gray walked one and allowed three hits.

The 11 strikeout were one shy of Gray's career-best.

"That's what the really good ones do," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They have a level and they have another level when they need it. We saw everything that makes him who he is today."

Ryan Madson pitched the eighth and Santiago Casilla got the last three outs for his seventh save, getting Tyler Moore to foul out with two runners on base to end the game.

Edinson Volquez (0-7) allowed three runs over six innings and tied the Marlins franchise record for most consecutive losses to open a season. The 33-year-old right-hander has dropped eight straight decisions overall dating to 2016, the longest drought of his career.

"When I signed on here I was hoping to be better than what I am right now," Volquez said. "The longer I'm pitching the way I did tonight, I'm good with it. I think I threw the ball pretty good today. One mistake. I threw a fastball to Davis and the ball keeps going."

The A's won despite three errors. They have 46 this season, most in the majors.

Dee Gordon singled and scored Miami's lone run.

Lowrie doubled and scored on Davis' 14th home run of the season, a two-out opposite field shot off Volquez. Lowrie added an RBI double in the fifth then singled in Adam Rosales in the seventh. It was Lowrie's team-leading 16th multi-hit game of the season and extended his modest hitting streak to six games. "Really consistent the whole year," Melvin said of Lowrie, who went 13 for 25 on the homestand. "Physically he feels better than he ever has. Durability-wise he's been out there more. I consistently talk to him about DH, but no, he wants to play."

Marlins: LF Christian Yelich did not play and is day to day after suffering a right hip flexor injury during Tuesday's win.

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso wore a protective wrap around his right wrist and was held out of the lineup after getting hit by a pitch. Melvin expects Alonso to be in the lineup Friday in New York. . RHP Jesse Hahn, who left his start Tuesday with a triceps strain, underwent an MRI test but results were unknown . LHP Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) will throw live batting practice Saturday in extended spring training in Arizona. . RHP Bobby Wahl was placed on the 10-day disabled list with soreness in his shoulder and biceps tendinitis. RHP Zach Neal was called up from Triple-A Nashville.

Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (2-3) faces the Los Angeles Angels for only the second time in his career Friday in Miami. Straily has failed to make it past the fifth inning in seven of his nine starts this season.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (2-2) pitches against the Yankees on Friday when Oakland begins a three-game series in New York. Kendall is winless in five starts since coming off the disabled list.