Athletics

Tigers tip hat to Anderson, Crisp, Coliseum crowd

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Tigers tip hat to Anderson, Crisp, Coliseum crowd

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OAKLAND Heres what Brett Anderson said Monday about his pitching style heading into a must-win Game 3 against the Detroit Tigers:My breaking ball is my bread and butter. Ill try to use my fastball to get ground balls and keep my pitch count down and get deeper in the ballgame.Making his first start since leaving an outing in Detroit with a right oblique strain after allowing three runs in 2.1 innings, Anderson stuck to his premeditated plan and it worked to perfection.They pitched and played a perfect game, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after the As cut his series lead to 2-1 with a 2-0 win. You have to tip your hat to them. Nothing you could do about it. He had a good curveball, had a very good breaking ball.Anderson mixed his breaking ball with a lively fastball to work six scoreless innings and allow his manager Bob Melvin to turn the ball over to his premium bullpen arms in Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour to complete the shutout.We just didnt do much offensively and you credit their pitching, Leyland said after watching his hitters go 2-for-10 with five strikeouts following Anderson's exit. Their bullpen is really nasty. Cook, Doolittle, Balfour, theyre really good. And their starter tonight gave them what they needed. It set up perfect for them tonight. They took advantage of that and they earned it. Pretty simple.Game 3 started simply enough for Anderson, who struck out the first two batters he faced in a 1-2-3 first inning that required just eight pitches. But the next frame was anything but simple. Tigers slugger Prince Fielder hit a line drive that appeared headed for a sure hit at least off the centerfield wall if not over it. But Coco Crisp used his speed to get to the wall and his legs to leap over it and rob Fielder of a likely home run. That ended up being the only fly ball out of Andersons night. He got ten groundouts and six more by way of the strikeout.I think Coco gave them a lot of momentum when he took the home run away from Fielder, Leyland said.Prince wasnt willing to give Crisp credit for shifting the momentum of the game, but he did tip his hat to a player who just two days earlier cost his team immensely when he dropped a fly ball in a crucial spot in Game 2.I thought I had a hit, Fielder said. It was a good play. Thats what hes supposed to do.Fielders frustration was just starting to mount, however. He stepped back into the batters box against Cook in the seventh and hit a line drive to shallow left that Yoenis Cespedes charged and caught as he fell into a tuck and roll.Tried to go under coverage; couldnt go over it. But they caught that one too, Fielder said with a dry wit that was fitting for a 200 million man that went 0-for-4, including a game-ending double play. Its frustrating. But these are good teams youre playing. Theyre going to make those plays; thats why theyre here.Anderson, even though he was limited to just six regular season starts due to Tommy John surgery and the oblique strain, is a big reason why the As are here and still alive and kicking in this playoff series. He showed no signs of rust in his first career postseason start, even though he admitted after the game that he was pitching through pain.He was able to establish that fastball in and hes got that tough slider and that breaking ball he was able to mix in, Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said. He kind of settled in and found his groove and we just couldnt get him out of it.Anderson only needed 80 pitches, which Melvin later said was a predetermined pitch count, to make it through his six shutout innings because he was consistently hitting As catcher Derek Norris target.He didnt throw too many mistakes, Fielder said. Curveball was working. He hit his spotsthat always helps.Leyland wasnt surprised the As starter was so sharp despite the layoff. He explained that it was his faith in Melvin, not his knowledge of Anderson, that led to his high expectations.Bob Melvin is pretty smart, Leyland said. If he had not felt totally comfortable with him he would not have pitched him in this game they dont do foolish things here.Anderson made Leylands hitters look foolish and that made the Coliseums capacity crowd get so loud that it impressed Oaklands guests.The crowd was really electric tonight and got them going, Laird said. This is the environment we thought it would be like.Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who pitched well but couldnt match Anderson, said that it was the loudest stadium he had pitched in.Detroit they have pretty good fans, Sanchez said. Tigers fans really cheer for the team. They support the team and give you a loud ovation for everything. But the fans here are so loud you cant hear anything from your teammates, so you just hear fans yell. But its really fun.With his Tigers still up 2-1 in the series, Sanchez may avoid a Kangaroo Court fine for calling a loss in enemy territory fun, but plenty of his teammates are not sleeping on the As.We just know theyre a great team, period, Laird said. To win your division, especially beating Texas out in the West, we knew what we were coming into. We just got to come out here and win one game. We knew they werent going to roll over; we knew they were going to come ready to play and they did tonight.

After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

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After country music detour, Giles instrumental in A's ballpark quest

As the A’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Giles’ thoughts and energies are wired into the business world, helping the team plan for a new ballpark and brainstorming all ways possible to bring in more revenue.

From talking to him, you wouldn’t guess that Giles once walked away from the white-collar sports management world to pursue a country music career.

Giles left a vice president position with the 49ers in November 2015, picking up an acoustic guitar, writing and recording a three-song EP, “Party Me”, that he performed at club shows all around Northern California.

He still performs once or twice a month on the weekend. It’s quite a contrast from his Monday-thru-Friday gig, but that’s exactly the point. In the lyrics to the song “Party Me”, Giles addresses the ambition and drive required in the 9-to-5 world and the reward of blowing off steam with buddies afterward.

“It’s a hobby, I’ll always do it,” Giles shares in the latest edition of The A’s Insider Podcast. “I still play once or twice a month locally, small acoustic stuff.”

Giles grew up in Clovis and sang in talent shows as a kid before becoming a high school wrestler.

“Randy Travis was my favorite as a kid,” he said. “I can remember writing his lyrics on construction paper and giving it to girls on the playground.”

Giles’ career in sales and marketing eventually led him to the 49ers, where he became VP of sales and strategy and played an instrumental role in the opening of Levi’s Stadium. He oversaw premium sales, seat license sales, concessions and retail among other responsibilities.

But he never lost his desire to pursue a music career.

“It was one of those things where I felt like if I didn’t give it a try, then I would always just regret it,” said Giles, who is married with three kids. “I enjoy writing songs, I love playing live. I was running around with a couple other artists, we were collaborating on a couple things. It just seemed like a logical point to give it a go.”

He eventually returned to the sports world with the NFL, running sales and marketing efforts for Super Bowl LI. But it’s his experience with the launch of Levi’s Stadium that appears to make him an especially good fit with the A’s, who plan to announce by the end of the calendar year a location in Oakland to build a new ballpark.

Opening a new stadium is one thing. Finding ways to maximize revenue from that venue is another, and that’s where Giles’ expertise factors in. He’s got an instrumental voice in how the ballpark will be designed and what features it will include.

He came aboard in an advisory role for A’s president Dave Kaval in March and was named the team’s COO in early July. Joining the franchise at this point, with so many ambitious plans for the future, is energizing to him.

“I think we’re approaching a rocket ship that’s sitting on the ground,” Giles said. “We’re not quite sure which rocket boosters work, but we know we’ve got a rocket ship. Our job is to make sure we tune that thing up and get it ready to go.”

A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

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A's blow back-and-forth battle with the Royals, drop series

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OAKLAND -- Alex Gordon hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the ninth after Oakland tied it in the bottom of the eighth, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Athletics 7-6 on Wednesday.

Alcides Escobar doubled to start the ninth against Blake Treinen (1-1), matching his season high with three hits. Then Gordon delivered his second run-scoring single of the series finale.

Oakland's Matt Chapman hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth against Brandon Maurer (1-1), who wound up the winner.

Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Danny Duffy struck out eight over five innings but the Royals couldn't hold a late lead again before holding on - a day after squandering a four-run advantage in a 10-8 defeat.

Cain added a key RBI single in the eighth for the Royals, who began the day tied with Minnesota six games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Kelvin Herrera finished for his 26th save in 29 chances after allowing Ryon Healy's two-out infield single.

Duffy's winless stretch reached four outings since a victory at Detroit on July 25. The left-hander earned his first major league win at Oakland on June 14, 2011, and has never lost to the A's - 3-0 in seven career appearances and six starts - but hasn't beaten them since April 10, 2012.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer in the third and Oakland got back in it on Jed Lowrie's two-run single in the fifth.

Kansas City's Melky Cabrera fouled a ball off his leg in the third and went down writhing in pain before recovering to hit a single on the very next pitch to load the bases with no outs. But Blackburn struck out Mike Moustakas and induced an inning-ending double play from Brandon Moss to escape unscathed.

A's starter Paul Blackburn was tagged for eight hits and four runs in four innings of his first career start against Kansas City, striking out two and walking three.

MINOR LEAGUE TRADE

The A's acquired lefty Sam Moll from Colorado for a player to be named later or cash then optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. Oakland added right-hander Chris Hatcher to the 25-man roster and he made his A's debut in the sixth inning, a day after coming to Oakland in a trade from the Dodgers. The A's optioned righty Josh Smith to Nashville and designated righty Zach Neal for assignment to clear 40-man roster space to add Moll.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Joakim Soria - who allowed four straight hits in the eighth inning Tuesday night - is scheduled for an MRI on Thursday after stiffness in his lat and ribcage area to determine when he can pitch again. The reliever showed up to the Coliseum with discomfort. "He's been battling with it for two weeks, he's been pitching through it, he's been pitching very effectively through it," manager Ned Yost said. "But after last night he showed up more so than usual."

Athletics: Josh Phegley (strained left oblique) was slated to catch five or six innings in a rehab game for Triple-A Nashville at Tacoma. ... OF Jake Smolinski, on the disabled list since March 30 recovering from right shoulder surgery, isn't expected to be able to play in the outfield until "well into September," manager Bob Melvin said.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.80 ERA) starts Friday at home against the first-place Indians trying to snap a 14-start winless stretch at Kaufmann Stadium since a victory vs. Minnesota on Aug. 20 last year.

Athletics: Following Thursday's day off, LHP Sean Manaea (8-7, 4.59) starts at Houston on Friday looking to end a five-start winless stretch in which he's 0-2 since beating Cleveland on July 16.