A's ride Jackson's hot bat into finale with Texas

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A's ride Jackson's hot bat into finale with Texas

May 2, 2011

TEXAS (16-12) vs.
A's (14-14)

Coverage begins at 12:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND (AP) -- Coco Crisp's return helped the Oakland Athletics get back to .500. The hot-hitting center fielder might be a reason they get above the break-even mark for just the second time this season.

Crisp looks to continue his torrid hitting when the A's conclude a four-game set with the stumbling Texas Rangers on Monday.

Oakland (14-14) has topped the .500 mark once this season when it was 9-8. The team is in position to regain that status again after beating Texas 7-2 on Sunday to win for the third time in four games.

Crisp, sporting a retro afro hair style, had two hits and one RBI on Sunday, connecting for a leadoff double before scoring in a three-run first after missing the three previous games with a tight quadriceps.

REWIND: Coco sets the table, Gio back on track in win

"Obviously, that's what you want to do as a leadoff hitter is get on base," Crisp said. "It definitely felt good after a few days off to come back and right off the bat get something going."

Despite the recent injury, Crisp has been hot over his last five games, going 12 for 21 with three doubles, one triple, three RBIs and five runs.

Crisp has a .341 average with one homer, six RBIs and eight runs over his last 10 meetings with the Rangers (16-12) since joining Oakland as a free agent prior to last season.

Conor Jackson is also producing at the plate for the A's, collecting five hits in this series with three doubles and two RBIs. In the past seven games, he's 9 for 25 with three doubles, one homer and seven RBIs.

Crisp and Jackson are providing some punch for an Oakland lineup that ranks near the bottom of the league with a .240 average and 97 runs. The club has scored more than six runs in a game four times - all wins.

Brandon McCarthy (1-2, 3.57 ERA) will try to help the A's improve to 3-1 on a seven-game homestand in his first meeting with his former club after spending four injury-plagued seasons with Texas, including all of 2010 recovering from shoulder surgery.

The right-hander became a free agent following his refusal to accept a minor league assignment in the offseason.

Now, McCarthy is trying to rebound from his worst performance of the season, allowing seven runs and a career-high 14 hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday. That was in stark contrast to his previous two outings during which he surrendered one run and 10 hits in 14 2-3 innings with 13 strikeouts.

He's hasn't faced the Rangers since appearing in relief for the Chicago White Sox on June 13, 2006.

The Rangers have dropped five of seven while committing eight errors, including three Sunday. Their 25 errors tie Oakland for most in the AL.

Derek Holland (3-1, 5.12) looks for improvement after giving up five runs in each of his last three starts. The most recent outing was his shortest of the season, as he lasted five innings while allowing 11 hits before leaving without a decision in a 7-6 win over Toronto on Wednesday.

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts against the A's.

Elvis Andrus is hitting .340 with 10 runs in the last 12 games, and is 10 for 30 during a seven-game hitting streak with five hits coming in this series.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

BOX SCORE

At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.