Tigers notes: Gomes, Carter affecting series from bench, etc.


Tigers notes: Gomes, Carter affecting series from bench, etc.

OAKLAND -- A's righties Jonny Gomes and Chris Carter are yet to enter the playing field in this year's ALDS, but they're affecting how the series is playing out by worming their way into the conscious of Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

"They've got a couple of big bats sitting there," Leyland said. "You have to watch how you play it."

When Seth Smith came to the plate with a runner on and one away in the seventh inning of Game 3 having homered in his previous at-bat against Anibal Sanchez, Leyland was going to the 'pen. But who to call? Call on a lefty and invite A's manager Bob Melvin to employ the services of Gomes or Carter for the first time this series. Call on a righty and keep Smith in the game as the DH.

"If you noticed last night," Leyland explained. "I chose to go to (Octavio) Dotel to Smith rather than (Drew) Smyly to possibly Gomes or Carter.You never know what Bob might do.But that certainly would have been an option for him.And I just felt that Dotel against Smith was a better option for me than Smyly against maybe Carter or Gomes."

Leyland won that game-within-the-game as Dotel induced a popout to the vast foul ground outside third base, but you can be sure he and his staff have discussed how to handle a similar situation in Game 4.

"We've got Smyly to go if something happens to Scherzer," Leyland said.

Look for Gomes or Carter to get a pinch-hitting appearance if Leyland does go to a lefty. Phil Coke is the only other left-hander in the Tigers' bullpen. He is reserved for late-inning situations, but it appears as if Leyland is more comfortable with him facing the A's strong righties.

While most of the Tigers clubhouse had their equilibrium sidekicked by the thunderous A's crowd on Tuesday, one outfielder claims to like it better than the alternative.

"I think I enjoy it more," left fielder Andy Dirks said. "You don't have to sit and get ragged on."

The Oakland Coliseum is known for its right- and left-field bleachers, and the boisterous fans they hold. Over the regular season, it is common for an opposing corner outfielder to hear -- quite clearly depending on the attendance -- grief in each of his nine defensive innings.

But the loud playoff vibe is hiding Oakland's prime ribbers.

"In this atmosphere, you don't deal with that because there's so much noise from the entire crowd," Dirks said. "You can't pinpoint those few people, like traditionally here you've got five guys behind you talking to you the whole game. But not in this situation."

Dirks claims to enjoy it, but he went 0-for-3 in front of A's fans Tuesday.

Not sure how to interpret his message? Get louder.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland does not believe that experience has any bearing on this series' outcome. He said as much five different times in his press conference Wednesday.

"I believe in talent," Leyland insisted.

With the most home runs and runs scored since the All-Star break, the A's have made it plenty clear that talent is one thing they have.

The Tigers, too, have talent, with last year's AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP anchoring their staff and the first triple crown winner since 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski) holding down the lineup. So the question remains: Who will win -- the less experienced talent or the more experienced talent? Don't ask Leyland.

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets

A's use three solo shots to avoid sweep vs Mets


NEW YORK — Rookie Matt Chapman quickly atoned for a baserunning blunder by hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning that sent the Oakland Athletics over the Mets 3-2 Sunday, ending New York's four-game winning streak.

With the July 31 trade deadline nearing and far back in the NL wild-card race, the Mets now start a 10-game trip, and there's no telling whether veterans such as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda will remain on the team when it returns to Citi Field.

Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also homered for Oakland, helping Bob Melvin post his 999th victory as a big league manager. Semien connected on the sixth pitch of the game, and Davis hit his 28th home run in the fourth.

Michael Conforto hit his 19th homer of the season and fifth of the Mets' 6-4 homestand that followed the All-Star break.

Oakland led 2-1 when Chapman opened the fifth with a double and moved up on a wild pitch by Rafael Montero (1-7). But with no outs, Chapman wandered too far from third base and was picked off by catcher Rene Rivera.

After the Mets tied it on an RBI grounder by Jose Reyes, Chapman launched a drive with two outs in the seventh. Chapman showed pop in the minors, and has homered four times since making his major league debut last month, including a drive Saturday night.

The Athletics made another mistake on the bases in the ninth when Jed Lowrie tried to steal second — with pinch-runner Rajai Davis already there, resulting in an out.

Rookie Daniel Gossett (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. He snagged a line drive by Curtis Granderson just above his head in the fifth, preserving Oakland's one-run lead.

Santiago Casilla, a possible trade target in the next two weeks, worked the ninth for his 16th save in 21 chances. After Wilmer Flores singled with one out, pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes hit a flyball that got fans hollering it might leave the park, but it was caught way short of the warning track.

The A's improved to 3-10 in interleague play, still the worst mark in the majors. The start of the game was delayed 61 minutes because of rain.

Despite the defeat, it was not a total loss for Montero. He was 0 for 28 at the plate in his major league career before lining a two-out single in the fifth. He broke into a big smile and the ball was thrown into the Mets dugout for safekeeping.

Montero then scampered to third when Conforto struck out on a wild pitch that bounced toward the New York bench. Granderson's bid for a tying hit was caught by the right-handed Gossett, who took off his glove, rotated his left shoulder to work out a kink, spit, tilted his hat and shook his head as he slowly walked off the mound.


Athletics: Righty reliever Ryan Dull (strained knee) could rejoin the A's for the finale of the upcoming four-game series in Toronto. ... 1B Ryon Healy didn't start for the second straight game after getting hit in the head by a bad hop Friday.

Mets: Cespedes and INF Asdrubal Cabrera didn't start, with manager Terry Collins saying the veterans told him they could use a day off.


Athletics: RHP Chris Smith (0-0, 2.77 ERA) starts in Toronto vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-5, 6.15). Smith made his first major league start earlier this month at age 36.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll face Padres LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35).

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

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


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.

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.

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.

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.