Win or go home for the A's

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Win or go home for the A's

OAKLAND -- Ray Fosse's primal scream Cliff Pennington's one-man dog pile Coco Crisp's walk-off hit that made the Oakland Coliseum shake It's playoff baseball alright, but it feels different than it normally does. There's something undoubtedly special about what the A's are doing. It has felt like that since June 2, when they started surging and really never looked back with a 72-38 record the rest of the way en route to winning the American League West on the final game of the season. This after never holding sole possession of first place all year. Only eight teams in the history of Major League Baseball have come back from a 2-0 deficit in a best of five series. It can be done. Heck, the Giants just did it a few minutes ago. It only seemed fitting that the A's would be forced to try to do it themselves. If this season really is a script for Moneyball 2, as many have joked, then it can't be anything but overly dramatic. What's more dramatic than rallying from a two run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to force a win-or-go-home Game Five? Having to face the reigning MVP and Cy Young award-winner, Justin Verlander, who happens to be 3-0 against the A's this season in the elimination game. After going up 2-0 the Tigers are the team under pressure. "You know it's not easy to play here," Verlander said. "So we put ourselves in a position where we just need to win one.Whatever game that is, doesn't matter.So hopefully it's the fifth one." Verlander will be opposed by Jarrod Parker. At 23, he is the youngest player in the last 15 years to start a deciding playoff game. The youngest to do so was Jaret Wright who was 21 when he pitched for the Indians against the Marlins in Game Seven of the 1997 World Series. He lost. Mark Mulder was 24 when he took the hill for the A's in Game Five of the ALDS against the Yankees. He also lost. No pressure. "To us and as a team, a group, the pressure, it's not built by us," Parker said."It's not put on by us.We know we're playing the same game. And we love playing in front of our crowd. And we love playing at home."The Tigers have the Verlander advantage. Six years ago today he was the winning pitcher as the Detroit Tigers swept the A's in the ALCS in 2006. The A's have the momentum and they have the home field advantage. Including the postseason the Tigers are 38-45 on the road this season. Can that help them beat the Tigers' ace? In his three starts against the A's this season he has allowed a total of two runs. However, the A's have battled against him. He hasn't gone deeper than seven innings in any of the three starts. They've had their chances to do damage against him and have fallen just short. "I think you gain confidence from being on the verge," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "His stuff was a lot better last time and we still had some opportunities and still to a certain extent got his pitch count up there. I think any time you get him to a point where you get him out of the game in the seventh with a 120 pitches or some under his belt, you've done some good things." That gives the A's a chance to work against Detroit's bullpen. If Parker can limit the damage then the A's who lead Major League Baseball with 15 walk-off wins will have a chance for late-inning heroics. Anything can happen. It's the playoffs. All we know is that one team will be packing their bags and heading home, while the other will live to fight another day.

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

Trio of A's rookies make history in win over White Sox

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- The Oakland Athletics got a glimpse of their future on a day when the Chicago White Sox paid tribute to their past.

Matt Olson hit his first two major league home runs, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto also launched their first career shots and the A's routed the White Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

Barreto homered in his big league debut. He joined Olson and Brugman in becoming the second trio of teammates to hit their first homers in the same game, the Elias Sports Bureau said. It also happened in 1914 with the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League - the rival circuit lasted a couple of seasons, and included many big leaguers.

"They said something about it was the first time it has happened in a while. It's awesome to be able to share that moment with guys that I already built relationships with," said Olson, who played with Brugman and Barreto in the minors.

Former White Sox ace Mark Buehrle had his No. 56 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony. After the 30-minute tribute ended, the A's roughed up James Shields (1-1).

Daniel Gossett (1-2) took advantage of an early 6-0 lead for his first win in the big league. He gave up two unearned runs in six innings.

"It was a special experience for everyone. To get out of there with my first win was just the icing on the cake. It was an awesome experience to be a part of and I'm glad I was here," Gossett said.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected for the second straight game. He threw his hat to the ground and was tossed, right after third baseman Todd Frazier was ejected for showing his displeasure over a replay review that wasn't reversed.

"I thought it was quick," Frazier said. "I said some things that were borderline, I guess. But at the same time, it's just frustrating, man. You can't get the call right in New York as well, and they've got every different angle. They can zoom in as close as possible, and to think that they cannot make that call is just frustrating with the technology we have today. It's just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does."

After a leadoff walk in the first, Olson homered to right. He added a two-run homer in the seventh. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday and is in fourth stint with the club.

Brugman hit a solo drive in the second. Barreto had a two-run homer in the third.

Barreto, a top prospect in the Oakland organization, was called up after shortstop Chad Pinder injured his hamstring Friday night and was placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Barreto was a late addition to the lineup at second base when Jed Lowrie couldn't play after a mild knee injury he sustained Friday night. The newcomer went 2 for 5 and scored twice.

"Of anybody, you're not surprised. We've seen him hit homers in his first spring training at-bats, so not a total shock. But I think everybody kind of looked around and said, `Wow, I can't remember that ever happening before,'" A's manager Bob Melvin.

Shields gave up six runs on seven hits in three-plus innings. He allowed three home runs in his second start since a two-month DL stint.

Buehrle's number was stenciled onto the dirt behind second base. He went 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 390 appearances for Chicago from 2000-11. The lefty pitched two no-hitters for the White Sox, including a perfect game, and helped them win the 2005 World Series.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
White Sox: All signs are pointing to LHP Carlos Rodon making his season debut sometime next week. Rodon, who has been out with a biceps bursitis injury, pitched Friday night for Triple-A Charlotte. Renteria was satisfied with the reports after his fourth rehab start.

"Another start last night. He went 4 1-3, 93 pitches. Actually, in talking to everybody, he threw pretty well. Had a couple miscues in the field that were probably limited his outing. He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that. According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back," Renteria said.

RUN SUPPORT:
Gossett said the Oakland hitters made it easy for him in his third major league start.

"To see guys I've played with a little bit last year and this year, to see Barreto get his first hit and other guys get their first home runs, it's really special for them and I'm glad I was part of it," he said.

FINALLY WINNING ON THE ROAD:
With wins Friday and Saturday, the A's snapped a streak of losing nine consecutive road series.

STATS:
Despite the rough start, Shield reached 2,000th career strikeouts.

UP NEXT:
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-3) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA over his last five starts.

White Sox: LHP Derek Holland (5-7) is 1-4 with a 9.55 ERA and nine home runs allowed over his last five starts.

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Two former A's players designated for assignment by AL East teams

Friday night was a bad night for a couple of former A's players.

After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Rangers, first baseman Chris Carter was designated for assignment by the Yankees.

New York called up first base prospect Tyler Austin.

In 57 games with the Yankees, Carter his eight homers and drove in 23 runs, but he his just .204 with 70 strikeouts.

Derek Norris, an All-Star with the A's in 2014, was designated for assignment by the Rays after they activated offseason acquisition Wilson Ramos from the 60-day DL.

Norris clubbed nine homers and drove in 24 runs, but hit .201 in 53 games with the Tampa Bay.

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