Sunday sun stumps A's in 6-5 loss

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Sunday sun stumps A's in 6-5 loss

OAKLAND -- The A's 10-game winning streak in games decided by one-run came to an end as Toronto defeated Oakland 6-5 on Sunday. It might not have been a one-run contest had it not been for a costly miscue. With two outs in the fifth inning, Rajai Davis hit a popup that shortstop Adam Rosales lost in the afternoon sun and couldn't catch. The next four batters reached base as the Blue Jays scored three runs and took a 6-4 lead. "I really wish I made that play. It definitely changed the game," Rosales said. "I make that play and I believe we win for sure."Rosales said the ball went into the sun right off the bat. He explained that usually it comes out of the sun and he is able to stay with it to make a play. On this occasion he said the ball never revealed itself. It is impossible to place the blame squarely on the A's shortstop on this occasion. Starting pitcher Tommy Milone made sure to point out that he deserves a share as well. "It's just one of those things that happens," Milone said. "I know the guys behind me are trying their best and sometimes that ball gets up in the sun and there is nothing they can do. My job is to get back out there and throw quality pitches, and I felt like I didn't do that after that happened."Milone is officially in a rut. He has allowed 16 runs in his last 19 innings pitched and lost his last three starts. It is the first three-game losing streak of his career. This after having a pretty successful first half of the season. Even with the recent struggles he has a respectable 3.91 ERA -- not bad for a rookie. "It's a bad run right now," Milone said. "I just have to forget about it and hopefully come out of it and worry about the next one."Milone says he isn't feeling fatigued as the season wears on. He did admit to not feeling sharp in his last few starts. His self assessment after the game was brutally honest. "Horrible, I couldn't get that one big pitch that I needed," he said. "I was leaving balls up over the plate and they were capitalizing on them."Arguably the worst pitch he made was a fastball to Edwin Encarnacion that badly missed location. The Jays DH smashed the ball to dead center for a two-run homer. Milone's 19th homer allowed this season gave the Jays back the momentum right after Josh Reddick hit his team-leading 24th homer of the year, a three-run blast to give the A's a 4-1 lead. The A's got another bad break in the bottom of the ninth. Down one run, pinch-hitter Brandon Moss drew a one-out walk and was lifted for pinch runner Eric Sogard. Jemile Weeks came to the plate and cracked a hard-hit ball that was snared by Jays third baseman Yan Gomes, who threw to first to complete the game-ending double play. Weeks made solid contact on the ball. Had it gotten past Gomes it could have made it all the way to the wall, possibly tying the game."I thought it was going to get by, but he let it get deep and caught it like that," Weeks said. "Wasn't much else I wanted to do with that pitch and he made a play."
After 18 and one-third innings pitched by the Oakland bullpen the last two days the team was forced to make two roster moves before. They added relief pitchers Evan Scribner and Pedro Figueroa. Those two pitchers combined for three scoreless innings and kept the team in the game until the end. Their efforts gave the rest of the overworked relievers a much needed day off. "We were very limited in what we were going to do in the bullpen today," Melvin said. "They came in the game and held it there. We ended up coming back within one run where one hit can tie it up for us, so they did very well."The A's split the four-game series with the Blue Jays and have now lost their last two games and five of their last eight contests. They are a half game ahead of the Angels and tied with Detroit for the first American League Wild Card spot. Those division rival Angels will be in Oakland the next three days for a key series.

A's option RHP Hahn to Triple-A; LHP Detwiler opts out of deal

A's option RHP Hahn to Triple-A; LHP Detwiler opts out of deal

MESA, Ariz. —The A's optioned starter Jesse Hahn to Triple-Nashville on Sunday and announced that lefty Ross Detwiler has opted out of his minor league contract to become a free agent.

Hahn’s demotion brings Oakland's rotation into focus, with Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara lined up as the fourth and fifth starters, respectively, behind Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea and Jharel Cotton. Sonny Gray will begin the season on the disabled list.

Hahn got off to a strong start this spring but struggled mightily in his last two starts, giving up 12 earned runs combined. It’s the second spring in a row that he’s entered camp looking to lock down a rotation spot before getting sent down, but the right-hander believes he’s better equipped to handle this setback.

“It’s disappointing for sure, because I set a goal this spring and that was to make the rotation,” Hahn said. “I didn’t do that, but I can’t get down on myself. I have to stay positive. I think I did a lot of positive things this spring. … I’m not going to let this one get me down. I’ve been through that situation last year. I learned from it. So I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I did last year.”

Gray’s injury, a strained lat muscle that’s expected to sideline him most of April, left two spots at the back of the rotation. The A’s are turning to right-handers Triggs and Alcantara, who have combined for just 11 big league starts between them.

Certainly with Triggs, this scenario had been developing for a while. Front office officials had talked him up since the beginning of the offseason as a rotation possibility. He's posted a 5.06 ERA in five exhibitions (three starts), but he looked very sharp in his last outing Wednesday against the White Sox.

Alcantara is out of minor league options, and the A’s wanted to keep him whether it was in a starting or relief role. His ERA is 4.50 over six appearances (three starts), but like Triggs, his most recent start was his most effective.

“Both of these guys will get an opportunity they haven’t had before,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Sunday’s developments could have a trickle-down effect with other parts of the roster. The A’s are in a better position now to keep five outfielders if they want and go with the standard seven relievers. Going with eight relievers and four outfielders seemed more likely when Alcantara was still a bullpen consideration just to keep him from hitting the waiver wire.

Non-roster invitees Alejandro De Aza and Jaff Decker, who is slated to return Monday from an oblique injury, are the primary candidates to be the fifth outfielder, although Chris Parmelee, another non-roster player, has quietly had a good spring.

The seventh bullpen spot could go to Daniel Coulombe if the A’s deem it important to have a second lefty, or they could go with impressive right-handed prospect Frankie Montas, who would be more of a multi-inning reliever asked to get both lefties and righties out. Of course, they could still opt for an eight-man ‘pen if they want a second lefty and think it’s necessary to keep Montas as a length guy.

Detwiler was on the fringe of the rotation competition and also could have been a bullpen consideration. But he posted an 11.88 ERA over eight appearances. The lefty is now free to sign with any club, though Melvin didn’t rule out the chance of Detwiler returning at some point.

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Khris Davis, out recently with right quad soreness, will play in a minor league game Sunday along with Decker. If Davis comes out of it well, Melvin said he will DH on Monday.

In another injury update, third baseman Trevor Plouffe is doing OK after tweaking an abductor muscle in his groin. Melvin is aiming to get him in one more game before the A’s fly north Wednesday, and then Plouffe will have the Bay Bridge Series to make sure he’s ready.

 

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.

Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.

“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.

Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.

“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”

Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.