Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Red Sox 2


Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Red Sox 2

BOX SCOREOAKLAND -- Even a milestone home run from David Ortiz wasn't enough to stop he A's from sweeping the Boston Red Sox for the first time since 2008. The A's won the game 3-2, and Oakland is now just one game below .500.At the PlateBrandon Moss continued to burn the Red Sox, who drafted him in 2002. In the second inning he hit his 10th homer of the season -- his second in this series. Moss' home run extends the A's streak of 15-straight games with a homer. The longest streak since the A's hit home runs in 17 straight games in 2002.The journeyman first baseman has reached double-digits in the home run column in just 24 games played. Dave Kingman hit 11 homers in 24 games with the A's 1984.Former Red Sox players have driven in nine of the 12 runs scored in the series, Josh Reddick (2), Coco Crisp (2), and Moss (5). Moss ended up a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4.After giving up the lead in the sixth inning, Moss hit a pop up that the Red Sox lost in the sun. As the ball landed just past the infield, Moss motored to second base for a double. Brandon Inge then cracked a ball into the right-center field gap, scoring Moss and tying the game at two.Crisp hit a leadoff triple to start the seventh inning. With the infield in, Jemile Weeks stroked an RBI single between third baseman Mauro Gomez and shortstop Mike Aviles, giving the A's a 3-2 lead.Starting Pitching ReportA.J. Griffin will go down in history as the pitcher that gave up David Ortiz' 400th career home run. It was a game-tying solo shot. Ortiz is the now 49th on the all-time home run list, passing Al Kaline and Andres Gallaraga who hit 399. Ortiz figures to pass Duke Snider at some point this season. He is next on the list with 407 career homers.It is worth noting that Paul Konerko also hit his 400th career home run at the Coliseum on April 25. He now has 410 career homers.Griffin had two outs in the sixth inning when Ortiz stepped to the plate again. Public address announcer Dick Callahan acknowledged Ortiz for his milestone home run and he received a standing ovation, tipping his batting helmet to the crowd.Griffin ended up allowing two runs -- one earned -- over six innings of work. He struck out three batters and walked two. He threw 108 pitches.After the brief pause, Griffin walked Ortiz. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then reached base when Weeks made an error on the shift. Adrian Gonzalez followed with the go-ahead, RBI single.Bullpen ReportRyan Cook pitched a tidy ninth inning for his eighth save.Grant Balfour went 1 23 innings without allowing a baserunner. He got the win.Jerry Blevins only faced one batter; he struck out Ortiz on three pitches.In the FieldYoenis Cespedes broke in on a hard liner off the bat of Gomez, before having to turn around and run after the ball leaping as it traveled over his head. The bad read resulted in the first hit of Gomez' career.Moss snagged a liner off the bat of Nick Punto robbing him of a two-out double in the seventh inning.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 28,240.Dot RaceBlue wins the dot race. It was the live dot race again. I am certain they put the slowest person in the Red dot costume.Up NextAfter 16 straight days at work, the A's have Thursday off. They return to action at the Coliseum Thursday against the Seattle Mariners. Tommy Milone (8-6, 3.37 ERA) will be on the mound for the A's. Kevin Millwood (3-6, 4.00 ERA) will be starting for the Mariners. Millwood returns to the rotation after aggravation a groin injury against the A's when they last met in Seattle. Milone is 2-1 with a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts.

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.