Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 4, Rangers 3

Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 4, Rangers 3
July 18, 2012, 10:36 pm
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OAKLAND -- The A's fell behind 3-1, then in typical A's fashion rallied to tie the game, and ended the series with a walk-off win. Brandon Hicks launched his first career home run to defeat the Rangers 4-3. Hicks came into the game as a pinch runner and ended up the hero of the game. At the PlateJosh Reddick continues to be a model of consistency for the A's. The three-hitter smacked a game-tying two-run double off the high part of the right field wall in the seventh inning. Reddick's double was a much needed lift for the A's struggling offense. They A's were 0 for 14 in this series with runners in scoring position before Reddick's double. The bottom of the A's lineup is proving to be a huge problem for the A's. The situation reared its ugly head again as they loaded the bases in the fourth inning with two outs. Derek Norris stepped to the plate stuck in an 0 for 21 slump and popped out to the shortstop. Norris ended the day 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 24 at-bats. Brandon Inge made amends for the bottom of the lineup by leading off the fifth inning with a game-tying solo homer to center field. It was his eighth of the year and it came a month and six days after his previous homer. Entering the game Smith had a .185 average when starting as the designated hitter. His struggles in that role continued on Wednesday as he went 0 for 3.Starting Pitching ReportTravis Blackley did a good job against the mighty Rangers offense. He allowed just three runs but was pulled from the game with one out in the sixth. It could have been a much different sixth inning for the fiery Australian-born pitcher. He had Elvis Andrus dead to rights on a pickoff move to first that was called a balk by first base umpire Paul Nauert. The balk call was questionable as Blackley leads the American League with six pickoffs. It advanced Andrus to second base and created a snowball effect. Later that inning Brandon Inge made a fantastic play on a hard-hit ball off the bat of Adrian Beltre. As Inge fielded the ball, he attempted to tag out Andrus as he advanced to third base, then realized he wouldn't be able to get him. As he changed his mind and decided to throw to first, he stumbled before completing the throw. Everyone was safe.
Andrus ended up scoring on a Michael Young RBI single. Young was the last batter Blackley faced in the game. Blackley's ended up allowing six hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. Craig Gentry continued to be a thorn in the A's side. The speedy center fielder smacked an RBI double in the fifth inning off Blackley to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. On the play Yoenis Cespedes got the ball to the cutoff man Cliff Pennington quickly, he fired home to Norris but his swipe tag just missed Brandon Snyder as he slid home safely. Bullpen ReportOne Australian relieved another in the sixth inning as Grant Balfour entered in relief of Blackley. Balfour allowed an RBI-single to Nelson Cruz extending the Rangers lead to 3-1. The run was charged to Blackley. Balfour struck out Napoli and Snyder to end the inning.Evan Scribner pitched a three up, three down seventh inning. Sean Doolittle followed with a shutdown eighth inning, extending his scoreless innings streak to 10.2 innings.Ryan Cook entered with the game tied in the ninth inning. He allowed a leadoff double to Cruz that was almost caught by Reddick. The reckless right fielder had the ball in his glove but he collided so hard with the wall that it jarred the ball lose. Cook struck out Napoli, got Snyder to pop out, and Gentry to fly out to center. Cook showed incredible poise pitching around the leadoff double. Cook has not allowed a run in his last nine outings.
In the FieldCoco Crisp made a spectacular catch to rob Gentry in the seventh inning. He covered an incredible amount of ground before diving to catch the ball and landing in a roll on his sore left shoulder. Cespedes made a nice play in left field, getting to a hard hit ball by Ian Kinsler and preventing a double by making a strong throw to first. Blackley made a nice play on a comebacker off the bat of Young. He fielded the ball throwing to Pennington for the first out, who threw to first to complete the inning-ending double play. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 20,249. Dot RaceWhite wins the dot race after some bumping Blue and Red out of the way at the finish line. A riveting contest. Up NextThe A's will have to endure a four-game series with the A.L. East-leading Yankees next. The Yankees are hot, they have the best record in Major League Baseball since June 2. The A's will be facing Freddy Garcia (4-2, 5.25 ERA), Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.18 ERA), Phil Hughes (9-7, 4.22 ERA), and C.C. Sabathia (10-3, 3.27 ERA) in that order. The A's will be sending A.J. Griffin (1-0, 2.63 ERA), Tommy Milone (9-6, 3.54 ERA), Jarrod Parker (6-4, 3.16 ERA), and Bartolo Colon (6-8, 3.88 ERA). The A's pitchers will have their work cut out for them with the Bronx Bombers in town. The Yankees have scored three runs or more in 42 consecutive games.

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