Indians grand slam sparks A's in 6-4 win


Indians grand slam sparks A's in 6-4 win


OAKLAND -- Tommy Milone has allowed two grand slams this season. The A's ended up winning both of those games. It's not exactly the most sound strategy but it apparently works. After falling behind 4-0 after Shelley Duncan's fourth-inning grand slam, the A's battled back eventually winning the game 6-4. The heroics came an inning too early for pie though, as they rallied for two runs in the eighth to take the lead.Milone was pitching on extra rest and looked a lot sharper than the statistics indicate. He struck out six batters and allowed four earned runs over five innings of work. "Overall it went alright, I felt good out there," Milone said. "Obviously the rest helped. I think just that one pitch was the only mistake I made all game." Immediately after the Indians put the crooked number on the scoreboard in the fourth inning the A's rallied for three runs of their own. Their first run scored on a Josh Donaldson RBI double. The go-ahead run scored on a Donaldson RBI single. The young fill-in third baseman getting hits ended up being the theme of the evening. He went a career-high 4 for 4 with two RBIs. "I think it's awesome, that's a good thing for me," Donaldson said. "But just being around the team winning that's the most important thing. As long as I can contribute any way I can.""It's big with Brandon Inge being down," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We're getting some production on the offensive side from third. We're feeling pretty good about it." Donaldson is just the latest success story to emerge from Triple-A Sacramento. Chris Carter, Brandon Moss, and Derek Norris are all becoming mainstays in Oakland. Donaldson could be next on the list if he keeps swinging the bat like he is. "There's not one at-bat in Sacramento where I'm tight, there's not one at-bat there where I'm like 'oh I've got to get a hit here,'" Donaldson said. "Being able to allow that to transfer over to the big leagues is just a big thing for me."Oakland also got key contributions from Cliff Pennington. He drove in two runs and snapped out of an 0 for 12 slump. "That's key, he's a guy that we need," Melvin said. "He expected to have a better offensive year."After Milone exited the game the A's bullpen held the Indians scoreless for four innings. Grant Balfour closed out the game for his 10th save by tossing a clean three up, three down inning. The A's have now won two games in a row. At 20-12 they still have the best record in Major League Baseball since the All-Star Break. The current A's were visited by the 2002 Moneyball A's that won a record 20-games in a row. They were also visited by Josh Reddick, who underwent another dental procedure before the game. He wasn't able to play but collected a pinch hit single to load the bases in the eighth inning.

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback

Ryan Christenson has a reason to follow the World Series even more so than most years.

Christenson, who manages the A’s Double-A Midland squad, is also skippering the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. One of his players happened to be Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, if only for the briefest of periods.

Schwarber, as is well-documented, played in two AFL games as a quick tune-up before joining the Cubs’ active roster for the Fall Classic. It’s an unprecedented path, as Schwarber hadn’t appeared in a game for Chicago since April 7, when he tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee.

When he crushed a double off the right field wall in Game 1 against the Indians’ Corey Kluber, Schwarber became the first position player in major league history to get a hit in the World Series after recording zero hits during the regular season.

His preparations for the grand stage took place in the relative anonymity of the Arizona Fall League, and it presented some unique conditions for Christenson to manage under.

“It’s such a unique situation to see someone thrust into that after missing so much season,” Christenson said in a phone interview before Game 1. “To have a chance to be activated this time of year, it’s something special if he can pull this off. If he (sparks the Cubs), literally the guy can be a legend.”

Schwarber appeared in just two games for the Solar Sox, going 1-for-6 as a designated hitter. Christenson didn’t have much hands-on interaction with Schwarber — the Cubs had their own staff members on site helping him with treatment — but Christenson saw Schwarber’s swing rounding into form even in his brief time in the batter’s box.

“The bat speed is there,” said Christenson, who hadn’t met Schwarber previously. “I love watching him work in the cage. He’s got a great swing. I don’t think it would take someone of his caliber long to get his timing and pick up where he left off. It’s a simple swing.”

The Cubs asked Christenson to work Schwarber into the top of the batting order with the Solar Sox so as to maximize his number of plate appearances. They also asked one other favor.

“The only request they had was that I took it easy with him on the bases … not trying to score him from first base on a gapper.”

Schwarber’s mere presence in the Arizona Fall League created a delicate dynamic. The league is geared toward up-and-coming prospects who have yet to break into the majors, and Christenson said AFL officials were concerned about Schwarber dropping in and taking playing time away from those players.

Each major league organization sends at least six players to the AFL. Of those six, one is designated a “priority player,” meaning they must play at least four days a week, so innings can be tricky to spread around.

Adding to the sensitivity of the situation, the Solar Sox’s roster includes not only Cubs prospects but also those of the Cleveland Indians. Christenson needed to avoid a situation where Schwarber was stealing at-bats away from prospects of the American League champs — the team that Schwarber was training to try to help the Cubs beat.

But things unfolded smoothly, and Schwarber showed appreciation for getting the chance to drop in for a couple games.

“I’ll definitely be pulling for him,” Christenson said.

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

A's claim left-handed reliever off waivers from Cubs

CLEVELAND — Left-hander Giovanni Soto has been claimed by the Oakland Athletics off waivers from the Chicago Cubs.

Soto was designated for assignment Saturday to open a spot on the 40-man roster for slugger Kyle Schwarber, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list following knee surgery in April. Schwarber was put on the World Series roster Tuesday and went 1 for 3 with a double, walk and two strikeouts in the opening 6-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.

Soto was traded to the Cubs from Cleveland on April 11 and was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA in 33 relief appearances for Triple-A Iowa. He made his big league debut with the Indians in 2015 and appeared in six games and 3 1/3 innings.

Oakland claimed him Wednesday.