A's hang on, beat Angels 9-8

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A's hang on, beat Angels 9-8

OAKLAND -- The A's outlasted the Angels in a Wednesday slugfest at the Coliseum. With a 9-8 win, Oakland takes the series against their division rivals two games to three, and finishes their homestand 5-5. At the PlateThe Angels made a big move at the trade deadline to acquire Cy Young-award winner Zack Greinke from the Brewers. In a much smaller move the A's picked up catcher George Kottaras from the Brewers. On Wednesday, the A's acquisition hit a two-run blast to dead center field off the Angels acquisition. Kottaras and Greinke were teammates in Milwaukee and the A's new catcher probably shared some very in-depth knowledge with his new teammates. The A's batted around in four-run second inning drawing five walks. Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick each hit RBI-singles. Greinke left the game with five innings pitched and four earned runs. He allowed five walks and gave up six hits. The Angels haven't won either game started by Greinke since they acquired him.With Greinke out of the game, the A's put five runs on the scoreboard in the sixth inning. Cliff Pennington drew a walk and then advanced to second on a Jemile Weeks bunt. Coco Crisp drove him in with a single to right field. Two batters later Josh Reddick drew a walk before the A's executed a double steal. Yoenis Cespedes stepped to the plate with two outs and hit a two-run opposite field single. The next batter Chris Carter crushed a two-run homer to left field, his 10th of the season. The A's now have seven players with double-digit home runs. Reddick (25), Cespedes (14), Gomes (12), Smith (11), Moss (11), Inge (11), Carter (10).Starting Pitching ReportWhile pitching in a collegiate summer league in Berkeley, Dan Straily and some friends took BART to the Oakland Coliseum to watch the A's take on the Angels on a 2 Wednesday. It is a testament to how far Straily has come that he is now on the mound -- pitching -- on a BART 2 Wednesday -- against the Angels. Straily announced his presence with authority in the first inning. He struck out Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, and Albert Pujols swinging to start the game. Professional baseball's strikeout leader ended up with five strikeouts. Straily allowed his first Major League homer in the second inning, a solo shot off the bat of Kendrys Morales. The Angels would end up tagging Straily for four home runs. Morales hit two of them, and his second homer -- a two-run shot -- knocked Straily out of the game.During the game Angels right fielder Torii Hunter sent fried chicken to the right field bleacher crew. He later sent a home run to left field. The fan in left field who caught Hunter's home run ball threw it back, the right field crew chose to keep the chicken. Straily's threw 103 pitches over four and two-thirds innings. He allowed five runs on eight hits and walked one batter. Bullpen ReportJordan Norberto entered the game in relief of Straily in the fifth. He walked Alberto Callaspo before striking out Howie Kendrick swinging to the the inning. He remained in the game for the sixth inning and there was a brief injury scare when an A's trainer and manager Bob Melvin visited with him on the mound. He stayed in the game and struck out Chris Iannetta. He was lifted after walking Trout. Pat Neshek finished the sixth inning by striking out Hunter. Neshek, a righty with a deceptive delivery, has appeared in four games since being acquired last Friday from the Orioles. He has has six strikeouts and hasn't allowed a hit. Grant Balfour pitched the seventh inning. He allowed a solo homer to Mark Trumbo snapping a streak of 13 games without allowing a run. Sean Doolittle allowed back-to-back single to start the eighth inning. He them struck out the side to end the frame. Doolittle got Iannetta looking, Trout looking, and Hunter swinging. A's closer Ryan Cook pitched the ninth. He had blown his last two saves. Cook is usually a different pitcher when well rested and he hadn't pitched since Thursday. Entering Wednesday, Cook had allowed one run in his last 38 innings when pitching on a day or more of rest. He allowed two runs but escaped with his 12th save. In the FieldWith one of the game's fastest runners on third base and one out, Mark Trumbo hit a fly ball to left field that Cespedes made a charging catch on. Cespedes fired a perfect strike to home plate and Trout stayed on third. Many marvel at Reddick's arm in right field, but Cespedes might have an even better arm. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 21,150. Dot RaceIt was a live Dot Race on Wednesday. Red got a huge lead but was knocked out by Blue. That was all the momentum Blue needed, and easily won the race.Up NextThe A's get a much needed day off on Thursday. They will begin a series in Chicago with the White Sox on Friday. Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.54 ERA) will be activated from the disabled list prior to the game and he'll be the A's starting pitcher. McCarthy has been on the DL twice this year with right shoulder issues. He is 6-0 in his last seven starts with Oakland.The White Sox will be sending Gavin Floyd (8-9, 4.43 ERA) to the mound. Floyd is 3-2 with a 2.17 ERA in his career against the A's.

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Kurt Suzuki is headed back to the National League.

After three seasons in the American League with the Twins, the former A's backstop has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Braves.

News of the agreement was first reported by SB Nation.

Suzuki will reportedly make $1.5 million, according to Fox Sports. He has a chance to make an addition $2.5 million in incentives.

The 33-year-old Suzuki was drafted by the A's in the second round of 2004 MLB Draft. He made his debut with Oakland in 2007 and was the starting catcher until a 2012 trade to Washington. A year later, the Nationals traded Suzuki back to the A's for the final five weeks of the season.

Prior to the 2014 season, Suzuki signed with Twins. In three seasons with Minnesota, Suzuki hit .263/.316/.364 with 75 doubles, 16 home runs and 160 RBI.

Suzuki will likely serve as a back-up to catcher Tyler Flowers.

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla says he’s returning to his baseball home, which requires only a trip across the Bay Bridge.

The A’s finalized a two-year $11 million contract with the former Giants closer Friday, adding him to a bullpen that has no shortage of late-inning relief options for manager Bob Melvin.

“There’s an old saying that it’s always good to return home, and I’m very happy to get this new opportunity with the Athletics,” Casilla said on a media conference call, via interpreter Manolo Hernandez Douen.

It’s “new” in that the 36-year-old Casilla spent the past seven seasons wearing black and orange. But his major league career is rooted in Oakland. The A’s signed him out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent back in 2000, and he spent his first six seasons with Oakland, the first two of those pitching under the name Jairo Garcia.

He’s since won three World Series rings with the Giants, including notching four saves during the 2014 postseason. His final season with San Francisco ended on a sour note last year, however, as he was demoted from the closer’s role during a rough September.

What role will he find in 2017?

Casilla, who reportedly can earn up to $3 million in incentives based on games finished, joins three other relievers in the A’s ‘pen who have legitimate big league closer’s experience — John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Doolittle was the closer entering last spring but shoulder problems derailed him for a second consecutive season. Madson handled the ninth for most of 2016 and notched 30 saves, but general manager David Forst made it clear Friday that the Opening Night closer has yet to be determined.

“We had a number of different guys save games last year,” Forst said. “… Santiago saved almost 80 games the last couple years. He’s got a lot of experience. As we talked to him and his representatives, he made it clear he’s willing to do anything. It’s great for Bob to have a number of options. It’ll sort itself out in spring training as to who the guy is to start the season.”

Doolittle, Axford, Ryan Dull and Zach Neal combined for 12 saves last season. But even though the A’s are fully stocked with ninth-inning options, it’s fair to question whether any of them is a clear-cut answer for the closer’s role as spring training nears.

Madson’s seven blown saves tied for second most in the American League. Doolittle hasn’t pitched a full season since 2014. Axford issued 4.11 walks per nine innings last year, and Dull’s biggest strength is his ability escape jams when entering mid-inning.

Casilla went 2-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 31 saves last season, striking out a career-best 10.1 per nine innings, but there was some turbulence. He was displeased with Giants manager Bruce Bochy last May after being pulled from a game. Then he struggled mightily in September and lost the closer’s role. Bochy didn’t call on him at all as the bullpen coughed up a ninth-inning lead to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Division Series that ended the Giants’ season. That decision had Casilla in tears after the game.

Asked Friday if he harbored any hard feelings toward the Giants, Casilla replied: “It’s a new year, a new team. I have left this in the past.”

Forst pointed to Casilla’s sustained velocity — his fastball averaged 93.6 miles per hour last season — and his expanded repertoire over his career as reasons why the A’s went after him.

“His numbers were really good — 65 strikeouts, 19 walks,” Forst said. “As we got through the offseason I think we thought he was being overlooked a little bit just because of the narrative surrounding his departure with the Giants. I wasn’t around and I don’t know what went on, but it seems like a few blown saves marred what otherwise was a fantastic season for him.”

In other news, the A’s signed veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Forst noted De Aza’s ability to play all three outfield spots and his speed as traits that caught the A’s attention.