A's lose Ross, swept in short series by Twins

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A's lose Ross, swept in short series by Twins

May 19, 2011BOXSCORE A'SVIDEOMLB PAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

OAKLAND (AP) This is what Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expected from his team all along: Balls flying out of the yard, steady starting pitching and a winning streak thrown in for good measure.Minnesota did all of that and more, and now the Twins no longer have the worst record in baseball.Justin Morneau homered and had three hits and Rene Rivera hit his first home run in nearly five years, and the suddenly resurgent Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 11-1 on Thursday."We've been beat up and some guys are starting to feel a little bit better," said Gardenhire after Minnesota's biggest offensive outburst of the season. "We had a fun series here. Are we out of the woods? No. We still have issues, we still have things we have to get better at. Today was a good day for us."
Nick Blackburn pitched seven solid innings for Minnesota, which has won three straight - all on the road - following a season-high nine-game losing streak.
NEWS: A's Ross leaves Thursday start after seven pitchesTrevor Plouffe also homered while Michael Cuddyer added three hits for Minnesota. Plouffe homered as part of a six-run eighth inning, the Twins' best of the season.Hideki Matsui walked and scored for the A's, who lost their starting pitcher Tyson Ross to a strained left oblique after throwing just seven pitches."You just try to get through 27 outs with your bullpen," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "It was a rough day, but we'll bounce back. This is one you just put behind you."Blackburn (3-4) gave up five hits and allowed only one runner past second base to end a three-start winless skid. He struck out two and walked one.Phil Dumatrait pitched the eighth and Anthony Swarzak worked the ninth to complete the six-hitter.Morneau hit a two-run shot off Craig Breslow in the fifth to make it 4-0.
GUTIERREZ: Ellis one hit away from 1,000Plouffe hit a three-run homer in the eighth when Minnesota batted around and scored six runs.The Twins got plenty of offense to complete the two-game sweep of the A's while matching their longest winning streak of the season. Every starter except second baseman Alexi Casilla had at least one hit while eight different Minnesota players drove in runs."We've scored runs, just not this year ... yet," Gardenhire said. "We really believe we can. We believe if we can get the stars lined up, we can do some damage."Cuddyer went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .267. Cuddyer needs four hits to become the 14th player in franchise history to reach 1,000 for his career.Rivera and Danny Valencia each had two hits.Rivera, making a rare start in place of Drew Butera, was only 1 for 15 this season before his solo homer off Oakland reliever David Purcey with one out in the second.It's Rivera's first home run since June 9, 2006. The backup catcher spent the past four seasons in the minor leagues with four different clubs before signing with Minnesota in December."It's a pretty good feeling, I can't lie," Rivera said. "I've been working hard in the cage, taking early BP to try to get my swing back. I don't mind going 0 for 4 if we win. To hit is a plus for me."Blackburn didn't need much support from the offense.The Twins' right-hander has not surrendered more than two earned runs in his past four starts and has won 10 consecutive decisions in May dating to 2009.Blackburn only allowed two Oakland runners to reach second base through the first six innings - both with the help of errors. He also got some help from Rivera, who threw out A's leadoff hitter Coco Crisp trying to steal second after Crisp singled in the first.The A's broke through for a run in the seventh but got little else.Matsui walked, took third on David DeJesus' single then scored on Mark Ellis' fielder's choice grounder.Ross (3-3) strained his left oblique and was removed after throwing only seven pitches.The lanky right-hander gave up a single to Twins' leadoff hitter Denard Span. Ross' 1-1 pitch to Trevor Plouffe got by A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, who was charged with a passed ball.Ross then wandered around the mound for a few moments before A's trainers were called to the mound. Ross walked off under his own power."It's a little tight right now," Ross said. "The first pitch to the second hitter it felt like I had a muscle spasm or a cramp. The next pitch I really felt it, and the third pitch I said I can't throw with this."Purcey rushed in from the bullpen and assumed the count on Plouffe, who grounded out. Span later scored on an RBI single by Jason Kubel.The Twins head to Arizona for a three-game interleague series with the Diamondbacks.Before that, however, Minnesota's players and coaches will attend a funeral for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew in Peoria, Ariz. Killebrew will be buried in a private service Monday in his hometown of Payette, Idaho."It's going to be a tough day tomorrow, saying goodbye," Gardenhire said. "He's watching over us, we know that."Note: Ross is the first A's pitcher to leave after throwing seven pitches or fewer since Omar Olivares did it on June 16, 2000.

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks. 

Mailbag: Will A's find Healy regular playing time?

Mailbag: Will A's find Healy regular playing time?

MESA, Ariz. — The start of Cactus League games will provide some tangible results and statistics, and that will eventually give us some clarity on how the A’s 25-man roster will shake out.

Until then, it’s all speculation. And there’s no shortage of questions to ponder. With that in mind, I’ll periodically open it up to whatever is on your mind regarding this team and try to shed as much insight as I can.

And we’re off …

From @Mr_Peach33: Is Yonder Alonso going to be taking at-bats away from Ryon Healy?

Maybe it’s more accurate to say the signing of third baseman Trevor Plouffe is what threatens to eat into Healy’s playing time. By inking Plouffe to a one-year deal off the free agency market, the A’s took away a position that was solely Healy’s over the second half of 2016. This is going to be interesting to watch play out, because GM David Forst says there can still be 500 at-bats for Healy between first base, DH and occasional starts at third.

It’s hard to fathom the A’s not making it a priority to find Healy regular playing time somewhere on the diamond. I don’t buy into any thoughts that taking Healy off third somehow stunts his growth. The guy’s biggest contribution to this team will be with his bat, not his defense. And he’s played more first base over the years than third anyway, going back to his college days at Oregon. But, he absolutely needs to be in the lineup somewhere on a regular basis, based on his impressive showing in his major league debut in 2016. Maybe it’s Healy that will be taking at-bats away from Alonso.

From @mikemendonca22: Is Andrew Triggs a lock for the rotation? Where do you see Mark Canha fitting in?

Slick effort from Mike to squeeze two questions into one. I’ll try to quickly address both …

Triggs is by no means a lock for the rotation. He’s got to pitch well in exhibitions to nail down the No. 5 starter spot. But Jesse Hahn has a say in this too. He’s also got a legitimate shot to win this job, beginning with Saturday’s start against the Cubs. Triggs’ advantage is that the front office is a big believer that he can get the job done in a starting role. Hahn’s advantage is that the A’s have seen a body of work from him as a successful big league starter, when he posted a 3.35 ERA over 16 starts in 2015. That included a shutout of the Detroit Tigers.

Right now, Canha fits in as a platoon partner in right field with the left-handed hitting Matt Joyce. He could also play some left field when Khris Davis is serving as DH. Canha is an option at first base too against left-handed pitchers.

From @KennyPaul68: What are they doing bringing old guys back? Let the kids play and learn. Second base and third base should be the kids!!

I generally agree with your stance, Kenny, about going young and letting the prospects get experience and learn from their mistakes. If it’s going to be another long year in the bottom half of the AL West, and the objective viewpoint says it will be, you might as well let these talented kids play and develop. But in the A’s defense, switching Healy off third and putting him at first is OK in my book because Healy would eventually be moving to first anyway when Matt Chapman is ready. Thing is, the A’s simply don’t think Chapman is ready to take over at third base yet. His 173 strikeouts at Double-A last year would suggest perhaps they are right. So that’s why they signed veteran Trevor Plouffe to play third as a place holder until Chapman is ready.

As for second base, let’s allow this scenario to play out. Jed Lowrie is in the final year of his contract, and if he’s healthy and turns in a productive first half, you have to think he’s a legitimate trade candidate at the Aug. 1 deadline. The A’s could go with a combo of Joey Wendle/Chad Pinder at second base if Lowrie is dealt. Or, if top prospect Franklin Barreto tears it up at Triple-A, he could force the A’s hand by making them clear a spot for him to get promoted and take over at second base.