A's overcome milestone moment, sweep Boston


A's overcome milestone moment, sweep Boston


OAKLAND -- A 175M payroll, and a home run of historic proportion couldn't derail the A's. They conquered the visiting Red Sox with a three-game sweep, winning 3-2 on Wednesday. The A's have now won four straight games and are just one game below .500. "They're a tough team, but more importantly I like the way we are playing," third baseman Brandon Inge said. "We're a team that can hang with anyone, it's just a matter of putting it all together." The A's hadn't swept the Red Sox since the 2008 season. They are 19-12 over their past 31 games. As they inch closer to the .500 mark, A's manager Bob Melvin wants the team to stay in the moment."If .500 is what you want to do, then you are going to stall out at that point," Melvin said. "I really think that what we are trying to do is just win games and count them up at the end." The aforementioned historical home run belonged to Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. He blasted his 400th career homer in the fourth inning. It was a game-tying blast off A's rookie starting pitcher A.J. Griffin. "It didn't seem to affect him too much," Melvin said of Griffin. "Maybe he is proud of that. He is in the record books now."Griffin only allowed two runs -- one of which was unearned. The second run scored after an odd sequence of events. In Ortiz' plate appearance following the milestone home run, public address announcer Dick Callahan acknowledged his achievement to the announced crowd of 28,240. Ortiz received a standing ovation, tipping his cap in response. Griffin had to stand on the mound and try and ignore the scene. "I was totally trying not to even think about it. Then I walked him, that was cool." Griffin said sarcastically. "You've got to tip your hat to that guy. He is a great hitter. He deserved that, it's a big milestone right there. I guess my name will be next to that one."After Griffin walked Ortiz, Jemile Weeks made an error on a ground ball hit by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The next batter, Adrian Gonzalez, drove in Ortiz to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.The accomplishment for Ortiz might have been overshadowed by the actions of a former Boston player -- Brandon Moss. He went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season. He ended the day a triple shy of the cycle. Moss' 10 home runs in 24 games played are second-most in A's history behind Dave Kingman, who hit 11 in 24 games in 1984. "He amazes me every day," Inge said of Moss. "That guy has unbelievable power. Every time he swings the bat our whole dugout jumps back in amazement." Moss, who was drafted in 2002 by Boston, drove in five runs in this series. Other former Red Sox were big contributors in this series as well. Josh Reddick drove in two runs, and so did Coco Crisp. Nine of the 12 RBIs in the series came off the bats of former Boston players now with the A's. Two of those former Red Sox players also scored runs on Wednesday. Crisp hit a leadoff triple in the seventh inning and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by Weeks. And Inge drove in Moss with a game-tying hit in the sixth inning. "There's always that additional incentive to try and beat the team that traded you away," Bob Melvin said. He added that A's pitching coach Curt Young, who was let go by the Red Sox in the offseason, can also take pride in this series. A's starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer in 18 of their last 20 games. Boston was held to just five runs in this series. The A's get a much needed day off after playing 16 days in a row. They will hope to pick up where they left off on Friday at the Coliseum against the Seattle Mariners.

Arizona Fall League roundup: Seven A's in action

Arizona Fall League roundup: Seven A's in action

The Arizona Fall League hosts six teams featuring many of baseball's top prospects beginning in early October. This year seven players from the A's farm system are representing Oakland on the Mesa Solar Sox, which also consists of prospects from the Blue Jays, Cubs, Indians and Marlins. 

Below are the seven A's prospects on the Solar Sox, managed by former A's 10th-round draft pick Ryan Christenson, and their stats through a maximum possible total of 11 games. 

[STIGLICH: A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback]

A's Prospects

RHP Sam Bragg
4 G, 0-0, 1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO

RHP Trey Cochran-Gill
5 G, 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

RHP Dylan Covey
3 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 3.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO

RHP Frankie Montas
3 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

IF Franklin Barreto
10 G, .244/.262/.268, 10 H, 1 2B, 7 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 11 SO, 2 SB

IF Yairo Munoz
11 GP, .216/.268/.216, 8 H, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 10 SO, 1 SB

IF Max Shrock
8 G, .303/.343/.455, 10 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO


-- The A's drafted Solar Sox manager Ryan Christenson in the 10th round in 1995 out of Pepperdine University. The center fielder played six years in the bigs, four with the A's, where he hit .237/.319/.348 with 13 home runs. 

-- Infielder Franklin Barreto is tied for the team lead in at-bats with 41. He is also tied for the lead in strikeouts with 11.

-- Infielder Yairo Munez leads the team in games played. 

-- RHP Frankie Montas is one of four pitchers on the team yet to allow an earned run. 

-- RHP Sam Bragg is right behind Montas in the team lead with his 1.29 ERA. 

-- RHP Dylan Covey leads the staff with games started and innings pitched. He is also tied at the top with wins and second in strikeouts on the hill.

-- Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber spent two games with the Solar Sox before flying to Cleveland for the World Series.

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.