Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Mariners 2


Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 4, Mariners 2


SEATTLE -- To sweep or be swept? That is the question. The A's broke out the brooms in Seattle, defeating the Mariners 4-2. Oakland has now swept three of their last four series, and the one series they didn't sweep, they got swept by the Angels. Tommy Milone became the first A's rookie pitcher to reach 12 wins since Joe Blanton in 2005. He is now tied with Blanton and Chris Codiroli (1983) for most rookie wins in Oakland history. Milone is also making history in another significant manner. He's allowed just one walk or less in his last 14 starts. That ties Gil Heredia (1999) for the longest such streak in Oakland history. Starting Pitching ReportMilone tied one of his own personal records as well with 10 strikeouts. He didn't issue a single walk. He lasted six innings and gave up two earned runs on eight hits. Overall, a very good day for the rookie pitcher.Predominantly using his off-speed stuff, Milone struck out five of the first six batters he faced in the game. He didn't really get into a jam until the fourth inning. After allowing two batters to reach with singles, he blew a two-out, full count fastball by Mike Carp to end the inning. After the A's rallied for three runs in the fifth inning, Milone couldn't get a shutdown inning. He gave up a run on a two-out triple hit by Michael Saunders. He struck out the next batter to end the inning.Kyle Seager led off the sixth inning with a solo homer to right field, making it 3-2. Reddick scaled the right field wall but couldn't reach the ball. It was a spider-man-like effort, though. Milone ended the first six innings of the game with strikeouts. At the PlateThe A's were having trouble against Mariners lefty Jason Vargas until the fifth inning. With two outs the A's rallied for three runs. Adam Rosales and Coco Crisp reached on singles and then Jonny Gomes crushed a three-run blast to left field. Gomes has been an essential piece to the A's puzzle. He has 16 home runs in 83 games this season, and eight of them have come since the All-Star Break. It's hard to imagine where the A's would be if Manny Ramirez was taking at-bats away from Gomes. Odds are the 40-year-old slugger wouldn't be sniffing Gomes' stats at this point. The A's didn't score again until the eighth inning, when Josh Donaldson smacked a solo homer to left field. Donaldson now has six home runs and 24 RBI since being recalled on August 20. Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered in relief of Milone in the seventh inning. He retired two batters and didn't allow a base runner. Jerry Blevins finished the inning. Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Has not allowed a run in 10 of his last 11 outings. He struck out two batters. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth inning with a two-run lead. He allowed a leadoff double down the left field line to Casper Wells, then pitched around it without allowing a run. He is now a perfect 9 for 9 in save opportunities since regaining the closer's role. In the FieldReddick robbed Seattle's leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez to start the game. Gutierrez hit a ball that looked like it might fall in until Reddick made a full extension head-first dive to take away the hit. He saved a potential run in the ninth inning with a sliding catch to rob Eric Thames.AttendanceThe Mariners announced an attendance of 14,403. Up NextThe A's travel to Anaheim to open a four-game series with the Angels. Jarrod Parker (9-8, 3.67 ERA) will be on the mound for the A's. He is 4-5 with a 5.10 ERA in his his last 11 starts. He is one win shy of becoming the 10th rookie pitcher in Oakland history to win 10 games.

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Reports: Ex-A's catcher Suzuki agrees to deal with NL East team

Kurt Suzuki is headed back to the National League.

After three seasons in the American League with the Twins, the former A's backstop has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Braves.

News of the agreement was first reported by SB Nation.

Suzuki will reportedly make $1.5 million, according to Fox Sports. He has a chance to make an addition $2.5 million in incentives.

The 33-year-old Suzuki was drafted by the A's in the second round of 2004 MLB Draft. He made his debut with Oakland in 2007 and was the starting catcher until a 2012 trade to Washington. A year later, the Nationals traded Suzuki back to the A's for the final five weeks of the season.

Prior to the 2014 season, Suzuki signed with Twins. In three seasons with Minnesota, Suzuki hit .263/.316/.364 with 75 doubles, 16 home runs and 160 RBI.

Suzuki will likely serve as a back-up to catcher Tyler Flowers.

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla signs, but who will close for the A's?

Santiago Casilla says he’s returning to his baseball home, which requires only a trip across the Bay Bridge.

The A’s finalized a two-year $11 million contract with the former Giants closer Friday, adding him to a bullpen that has no shortage of late-inning relief options for manager Bob Melvin.

“There’s an old saying that it’s always good to return home, and I’m very happy to get this new opportunity with the Athletics,” Casilla said on a media conference call, via interpreter Manolo Hernandez Douen.

It’s “new” in that the 36-year-old Casilla spent the past seven seasons wearing black and orange. But his major league career is rooted in Oakland. The A’s signed him out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent back in 2000, and he spent his first six seasons with Oakland, the first two of those pitching under the name Jairo Garcia.

He’s since won three World Series rings with the Giants, including notching four saves during the 2014 postseason. His final season with San Francisco ended on a sour note last year, however, as he was demoted from the closer’s role during a rough September.

What role will he find in 2017?

Casilla, who reportedly can earn up to $3 million in incentives based on games finished, joins three other relievers in the A’s ‘pen who have legitimate big league closer’s experience — John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Doolittle was the closer entering last spring but shoulder problems derailed him for a second consecutive season. Madson handled the ninth for most of 2016 and notched 30 saves, but general manager David Forst made it clear Friday that the Opening Night closer has yet to be determined.

“We had a number of different guys save games last year,” Forst said. “… Santiago saved almost 80 games the last couple years. He’s got a lot of experience. As we talked to him and his representatives, he made it clear he’s willing to do anything. It’s great for Bob to have a number of options. It’ll sort itself out in spring training as to who the guy is to start the season.”

Doolittle, Axford, Ryan Dull and Zach Neal combined for 12 saves last season. But even though the A’s are fully stocked with ninth-inning options, it’s fair to question whether any of them is a clear-cut answer for the closer’s role as spring training nears.

Madson’s seven blown saves tied for second most in the American League. Doolittle hasn’t pitched a full season since 2014. Axford issued 4.11 walks per nine innings last year, and Dull’s biggest strength is his ability escape jams when entering mid-inning.

Casilla went 2-5 with a 3.57 ERA and 31 saves last season, striking out a career-best 10.1 per nine innings, but there was some turbulence. He was displeased with Giants manager Bruce Bochy last May after being pulled from a game. Then he struggled mightily in September and lost the closer’s role. Bochy didn’t call on him at all as the bullpen coughed up a ninth-inning lead to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Division Series that ended the Giants’ season. That decision had Casilla in tears after the game.

Asked Friday if he harbored any hard feelings toward the Giants, Casilla replied: “It’s a new year, a new team. I have left this in the past.”

Forst pointed to Casilla’s sustained velocity — his fastball averaged 93.6 miles per hour last season — and his expanded repertoire over his career as reasons why the A’s went after him.

“His numbers were really good — 65 strikeouts, 19 walks,” Forst said. “As we got through the offseason I think we thought he was being overlooked a little bit just because of the narrative surrounding his departure with the Giants. I wasn’t around and I don’t know what went on, but it seems like a few blown saves marred what otherwise was a fantastic season for him.”

In other news, the A’s signed veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Forst noted De Aza’s ability to play all three outfield spots and his speed as traits that caught the A’s attention.