Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 3, Royals 0

August 17, 2012, 3:07 am
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The A's were scuffling. They had lost three straight games and were facing the possibility of being swept in Kansas City by the Royals. The struggles ended at least temporarily on Thursday. Enter rookie starting pitcher Dan Straily. The A's have won all three of Straily's starts and the 3-0 victory on Thursday gave him his first career win. Get the guy a game ball. Starting Pitching ReportStraily got off to a good start. He attacked hitters throwing first-pitch strikes to the first six batters he faced. In the first inning he retired the side in order throwing eight fastballs and two sliders. He topped out at 93 mph. In the second inning Straily got into some trouble. He allowed a single and two walks to load the bases with two outs. Prior to loading the bases, Straily got Eric Hosmer to hit a weak foul pop up that barely got out of play. If the game was at the Oakland Coliseum the inning would have been over. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Curt Young, Straily got Chris Getz to hit a soft ground ball to first to end the inning. Straily threw 10 pitches in the first inning but tossed 29 in the long second frame. After loading the bases, Straily locked in. He retired the next eight batters he faced and the minimum from the third through the sixth inning. He was pulled with one out and a runner on base in the seventh. His final line was six and one-third innings pitched, three hits, and most importantly, zero earned runs. He struck out two and walked two batters. At the PlateAfter a painful tooth extraction situation Josh Reddick was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday. On Thursday he returned, but another late change moved him from right field to designated hitter. As the DH he had the ability to ice his face between at-bats. The A's were being no-hit through three and one-third innings when Reddick dropped a bunt to beat the Royals shift. It is the second time Reddick has bunted for a single this season to beat the shift. Coco Crisp put the A's on the board in the sixth inning with two outs. He clubbed a fastball just over the wall in right field. It was originally ruled a double, but the umpires reviewed it and correctly let Crisp continue his trot around the bases.In the next inning Yoenis Cespedes hit a homer that didn't need a review. It cleared the wall and landed several rows back in left field with ease, giving the A's a 2-0 lead. The homer run was Cespedes' first extra-base hit since July 28, ending a career-high 14-game extra-base slump. The A's added an insurance run in the eighth inning. Derek Norris drew a walk before stealing his fifth base. The bulky catcher caught the Royals off guard as he swiped second. He would get another chance to flash his speed on the base paths, coming around to score on a two-out Jemile Weeks single up the middle that made it 3-0. There was one low point. A's hitters stuck out 11 times. Bullpen ReportSean Doolittle entered in relief of Straily in the seventh. He gave up a two singles and stuck out Jeff Francoeur. He left with the bases loaded. Jerry Blevins got the call in a tough spot. With the bases loaded and two outs all it took was one pitch to retire Getz to end the inning, stranding three Royals runners. Blevins struck out Jarrod Dyson to start the eighth and then left the game.Ryan Cook entered in relief of Blevins. He allowed a single before retiring the next two batters on ground outs. Cook should be comfortable on the mound in Kansas City after his All-Star Game performance there a little over a month ago. Grant Balfour pitched a clean ninth inning earning save No. 9. In the FieldIn the fifth inning Derek Norris made a strong but wide throw on a stolen base attempt. Cliff Pennington was able to lunge across the bag, snagging the ball and tagging Getz to end the inning. Up NextThe A's return home for six games. A well rested Tommy Milone (9-9, 3.91 ERA) takes the mound after skipping a start. Milone is in a bit of a rut. He is 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA in his last three starts. The Cleveland Indians will send right-handed pitcher Zach McAllister (5-4, 3.46 ERA) to the mound against Oakland. McAllister allowed two runs over eight innings in his last start against the Red Sox. He is 1-2 with a 4.60 ERA in his last three starts.

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