Tigers tip hat to Anderson, Crisp, Coliseum crowd

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Tigers tip hat to Anderson, Crisp, Coliseum crowd

BOX SCORE

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.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”

 

Instant Replay: A's use Davis homer vs Astros to snap five-game skid

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AP

Instant Replay: A's use Davis homer vs Astros to snap five-game skid

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The clean game that manager Bob Melvin had been seeking from his team finally came Saturday night.

Andrew Triggs was excellent in rebounding from his rough previous start, and home runs from Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis powered the A’s 2-1 victory over the Astros. That snapped Oakland’s five-game losing streak, along with a 10-game losing streak against Houston.

A night after committing three errors, the A’s played mistake-free defense and got a couple of highlight-reel plays in support of Triggs (4-1), who blanked the Astros over a career-high seven innings and set a new career high with nine strikeouts.

Lowrie, facing the team with which he’s spent two separate stints, launched a homer off the facing of the second deck in right field in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. Davis padded the lead in the eighth with his signature opposite-field prowess, clearing the wall in right for his third homer of the series and 10th of the season, tying the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the American League lead.

But it all started with Triggs, who won his first three starts but gave up six runs against Seattle last weekend. He ate up seven innings and turned it over to his bullpen.

Jose Altuve homered off Sean Doolittle in the eighth to cut the A’s lead to 2-1, but Santiago Casilla closed it out in the ninth for his fourth save.

Starting pitching report

Triggs retired 10 in a row to finish his outing, but the key to the early part of his night was stranding runners. He wiggled out of a one-out jam with men on second and third in the first inning, striking out Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran. He stranded runners on first and second in the third, then got another big strikeout to end the fourth with a man on third. Before Saturday, Triggs hadn’t recorded an out in the seventh inning of a game he’d started in the majors.

Bullpen report

Casilla gave up Beltran’s infield single to lead off the ninth. But after a replay reversal negated an A’s double play, Casilla ended it by getting Brian McCann to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

At the plate

Two big swings of the bat were all it took for the A’s to notch their first win in five games of this three-city road trip. Lowrie, who came in hitting .375 over his previous eight games, hit a towering shot to right off Joe Musgrove (1-2) for his second homer of the season. Then Davis did his thing, blasting a shot to the opposite field for his 10th homer of April. He had just nine homers in 83 career April games entering this season.

In the field

There was no shortage of highlight plays turned in defensively. Jaff Decker, starting in right field, made a perfect throw from near the warning track to nail Carlos Beltran trying to tag up on a fly ball in the fourth. The next inning, former Athletic Josh Reddick fired a strike to home to nail Chad Pinder trying to score from second on Lowrie’s single. But the A’s got Reddick right back when first baseman Yonder Alonso made a leaping grab on Reddick’s liner headed for right field.

Attendance

The announced crowd was 32,147.

Up next

The A’s face a tough task in Sunday’s series finale, going against lefty Dallas Keuchel (4-0, 1.22). He’s the first pitcher in Astros history to go seven-plus innings and allow two or fewer runs in each of his first five starts. Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.08) takes the ball for Oakland. First pitch is 11:10 a.m.