Pratt's Instant Replay: We'll see you Thursday night

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Pratt's Instant Replay: We'll see you Thursday night

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's were down to their final three outs. They were down two runs. They were even down two games to none this series. It is all evened up now. The Oakland Athletics live to fight another day after a 4-3 walk-off win.The A's were on life support. Down 3-1 entering the ninth inning the Tigers sent their closer Jose Valderde to the mound. Josh Reddick hit a leadoff single. Josh Donaldson just missed a game-tying home run. Seth Smith drove them both home with a game-tying double, and Coco Crisp smacked the game-winning single to right field. Their season seamed to be on the brink. They reanimated like Bernie and partied with pie. It was their 15th walk-off win this season. Their seventh in postseason history.At the PlateThe A's hitters had very few answers for Max Scherzer. He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced, and retired a stretch of 12 consecutive hitters starting with two outs in the first and ending with two outs in the fifth when Seth Smith worked a walk.Following Smith's walk, Derek Norris hit a bloop single to put runners on the corners with two outs. Cliff Pennington stepped to the plate with a chance to put the A's on the board but he struck out looking.Even the A's spark-plug Coco Crisp led off the sixth inning by hitting a hard ground ball to first base that Prince Fielder couldn't handle. As the ball bounced off his glove and rolled into foul territory Crisp used his speed to get to second base. Crisp's 10-pitch plate appearance worked Scherzer up to 85 pitches.
On Scherzer's 90th pitch the ball got away from catcher Alex Avila and Crisp moved up to third. One pitch after Crisp reached third, Stephen Drew stroked an RBI double into the right-center gap. The A's got greedy though and tried to send Drew to third and he was thrown out.Running into an out at third with no outs and the best hitter on the team in the on-deck circle is a crippling mistake. A's third base coach Mike Gallego clearly thought Drew could make it but he was out by several steps. The A's ended up with an out instead of having the tying runner in scoring position.The A's put together a two-out rally in the eighth inning that started with a Drew single. Cespedes was pitched carefully by Tigers' relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit and took a walk. Trailing 3-1, Brandon Moss stepped to the plate with two outs and a chance to get the A's back in the game but struck out swinging. He practically swung out of his shoes on the first two pitches he saw.Starting Pitching ReportLast time A.J. Griffin faced the Detroit Tigers he allowed a career-high five runs and a career-high tying eight hits. It was important for him to get out to a good start in order to keep the raucous crowd in the game. Griffin did so by retiring the first five batters he faced. In the second inning with two outs he allowed a soft bloop hit to Andy Dirks that was stretched to a double, but Griffin got Jhonny Peralta to fly out to right to end the inning.Griffin retired six of the first seven batters he faced -- five of them on fly balls. He got into trouble when he gave up a leadoff double to Alex Avila to start the third inning. Griffin was looking for a called third strike from home plate umpire Wally Cooper but didn't get it. Then Avila smacked a ball down the right field line. Omar Infante then sacrificed Avila to third. With one out and Avila on third the A's drew in the infield but Jackson singled to left field to score the Tigers' first run. For the first time in the series Detroit scored first.Prince Fielder led off the fourth inning by launching a ball into the right field bleachers. It wasn't slowing down as it crashed into the stands. Fielders blast put the Tigers up 2-0. It was only his second hit of this series. Griffin allowed back-to-back singles after Fielder's blast. He responded by getting Peralta to ground into a a huge double play and getting Avila to fly out to end the inning with a runner on third.Griffin appeared to be on the ropes in the previous inning but came back out for the fifth. He responded by tossing his second three up, three down inning. He allowed a bloop single to Cabrera to start the sixth inning and was pulled from the game. All things considered, Griffin's end result wasn't too bad. He allowed two runs over five-plus innings on 85 pitches. He gave up seven hits and one walk.Bullpen ReportJerry Blevins entered in relief in the sixth inning. He got a quick three outs after getting Fielder to ground into a double play. He finished the inning by getting Delmon Young to ground out to short. He stayed in the game for the seventh inning and got three straight groundouts. Blevins faced five batters, got five groundouts, and threw 11 pitches.Sean Doolittle entered in the eighth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Infante that evaded the glove of a diving Drew. Jackson bunted Infante over to second and Tigers' manager Jim Leyland called on Avisail Garcia to pinch hit. He stroked a single to right field that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. The single was a major punch in the gut for the A's fans in attendance. Doolittle allowed a single to Young and was relieved by Ryan Cook who quickly got a ground ball to end the inning.Cook tossed a scoreless ninth inning as well.In the FieldDown 2-0 in the fourth inning with runners on first and second and no outs the A's turned a critical double play. Pennington came up with the ball and tossed to Drew who threw to first. Moss had to pick the ball clean to complete the double play.Josh Donaldson made the best play of his career in the seventh inning. He dove toward foul territory to snag a hard-hit ball by Peralta, then from his knees threw across the diamond for the out. When Donaldson made the throw he was about two feet in foul territory. That's a tough throw to make when standing on your feet. AttendanceThe A's announced a sell-out attendance of 36,385.Dot RaceGreen wins the dot race.Up NextThe A's and Tigers play in a win-or-go-home fifth game. Jarrod Parker will be opposed by Justin Verlander.

With division rivals dominating rumor mill, how will A's respond?

With division rivals dominating rumor mill, how will A's respond?

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — As you ponder what moves the A’s might make in the near future, keep an eye on what’s taking place with the teams they’re trying to chase down in the American League West.

The Astros and Rangers, who look like the division’s top two teams on paper, are in the thick of some of the juiciest rumors circulating on the first day of baseball’s winter meetings.

Houston already has made several impact additions this offseason, including signing former Athletic Josh Reddick to a four-year $52 million contract. The Astros, coming off a disappointing third-place finish in 2016, have also traded for catcher Brian McCann and signed outfielders Carlos Beltran and Nori Aoki, plus right-hander Charlie Morton to fortify their rotation.

Now the Astros are on the hunt for a top-flight starter to complement 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. Reportedly they are a major player to land White Sox ace Chris Sale — destined to be the most talked-about name throughout these meetings — but it’s believed Houston doesn’t want to part with young infielder Alex Bregman, which might thwart a trade for the big lefty.

The Rangers, two-time defending AL West champs, also are looking for an ace-type addition to their starting staff with the possibility that Yu Darvish could leave as a free agent following this season. But Texas also has been linked to free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and gets mentioned in trade rumors involving outfielders Andrew McCutchen and Billy Hamilton.

It’s no wonder the Rangers are on the lookout for hitters — they’ve already lost Beltran to free agency and could watch fellow outfielders Ian Desmond and Carlos Gomez and first baseman Mitch Moreland walk as well. One way or another, expect Texas’ roster to look drastically different in 2017.

The Seattle Mariners, who made a 10-win improvement last season over 2015, are very much in the market for a rotation upgrade of their own, and they’ve been aggressive with offseason moves under general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Don’t forget about the Angels, who are searching far and wide for a second baseman. If Los Angeles gets better health from its starting rotation this season, that alone could make the Angels more of a division threat.

How does all of this pertain to the A’s?

It demonstrates that climbing the ladder in the AL West won’t be an easy task for a club coming off consecutive seasons in the cellar. The teams expected to fight atop the division are aggressively trying to get better. And surely A’s officials take notice as they weigh whether to make significant moves to improve for 2017 or take a step back, evaluate more of their young talent in the upcoming season and lay groundwork for the future.

To that end, right-hander Sonny Gray’s name figures to surface throughout the four-day winter meetings, taking place just outside the nation’s capital.

The Atlanta Braves, an up-and-coming team that’s been linked to Sale and other top pitchers, have interest in Gray. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Braves and A’s discussed Gray but that Atlanta found the A’s asking price too extravagant, even though it didn’t include stud shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson.

The Braves do have some talented young center fielders — Ender Inciarte and Mallex Smith among them — and given the A’s great need at that position, it stands to reason at least one of those players would surface in talks between the clubs. Whether the Braves would part with either is another question.

A's outfielder Khris Davis to play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic

A's outfielder Khris Davis to play for Mexico in World Baseball Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Khris Davis confirmed Monday that he will play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this spring.

The A’s left fielder, who led Oakland with 42 home runs and 102 RBI last season, was also on a preliminary list for Team USA, and he’d been weighing which country to play for.

“I’m just excited to represent Mexico and felt I should be loyal,” Davis told CSN California in a phone interview. “I’m flattered that Team USA invited me and was considering me, but at the end of the day they weren’t going to guarantee playing time like Mexico was. … (Mexico) has been on me for years, since before I was even a big leaguer.”

Davis was born in Southern California, but his mother, Sonia Alarcon, is from Ensenada, which makes him eligible to play for Mexico. He was exposed to the country’s baseball culture as a youth while traveling with his father, Rodney, who was a scout for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

“His mom is from Ensenada, I think he was proud to say that,” Team Mexico manager Edgar Gonzalez said. “People didn’t know that, and his mom and his whole family are going to be very proud of him to represent the country that they grew up in.”

Gonzalez’s brother, Dodgers star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, will also play for Mexico, and Edgar has visions of Davis combining with Adrian as part of a potent heart of the order.

“It’s a 42-home run bat in the middle of the lineup, which is pretty impressive,” Gonzalez said. “Those are impressive numbers for somebody in that stadium (The Coliseum).”

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna also is expected to suit up for Mexico, and Davis said he’s hopeful that a good friend of his, Orioles pitcher Yovani Gallardo, also will be a teammate.

Mexico is scheduled to begin first-round play March 9 in Jalisco, so Davis will report to spring training with the A’s before leaving to play in the WBC. Major league clubs can’t prevent their players from participating in the event, although factors are taken into consideration if there is an injury risk. A’s general manager David Forst said early in the offseason that he had no issues with Oakland players taking part in the WBC.