Pratt's Instant Replay: Blue Jays 6, A's 5

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Blue Jays 6, A's 5

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OAKLAND -- The A's had won 10-straight one-run games before losing 6-5 to the Blue Jays on Sunday. A few bad breaks derailed the A's hopes of winning the four-game series against Toronto. The A's were burned by a sun-aided single that ended up yielding three runs and later a line drive to end the game that might have tied it up had it not been snared in a slick play by Yan Gomes. At the PlateThe A's rallied with two outs in the second inning. Brandon Inge smacked a single up the middle. Derek Norris came next and lined a double into the left field gap just past a diving attempt by center fielder Anthony Gose. Inge came around to score with ease tying the game at one.Josh Reddick has had some struggles with runners in scoring position. He delivered in a major way on Sunday. With two on and one out Reddick pulled an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers. Reddick's three-run homer gave the A's a 4-1 lead. According to the official scorer David Feldman it is the first time in his career he has hit an 0-2 pitch for a home run. Reddick now has 24 homers this season.The A's hit two doubles in the seventh inning to put another run on the scoreboard. Adam Rosales doubled to left with one out and then Coco Crisp doubled down the right field line to score Rosales.Chris Carter drew a one-out walk in the eighth inning. He leads Major League Baseball with 19 walks since the All-Star Break.Yoenis Cespedes returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game with a sprained wrist. He went 0 for 4.Down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth Derek Norris just missed a game-tying homer to left field. The ball hooked foul. He hit another long foul ball later in the bat but ended up striking out swinging. Brandon Moss pinch hit for Rosales and drew a four-pitch walk before Eric Sogard was brought in as a pinch runner. Jemile Weeks hit a hard liner that was snared by the third baseman and tossed to first to double off Sogard to end the game. Starting Pitching ReportTommy Milone's line is an ugly one. He allowed six runs in six innings and gave up nine hits and one walk. He didn't pitch quite as bad as the numbers indicate.He gave up a leadoff double to Rajai Davis. The speedy former A's player then broke for third as Anthony Gose dropped a bunt. As Gose made contact Davis never slowed down, he tore around third and scored as catcher Derek Norris threw to first. Norris might not have thought Davis was coming home. It is not often you see a runner score from second on a bunt. Milone failed to throw a shutdown inning after Reddick's homer gave him a three-run lead. He missed on a two-strike fastball that Edwin Encarnacion clubbed for a two-run homer to dead center field. It was Encarnacion's 29th home run of the year. Encarnacion was property of the Oakland Athletics very briefly prior to the 2011 season. On November 12, 2010 Encarnacion was selected off waivers by the A's from the Blue Jays. Less than a month later he was granted his free agency on December 2. At the time the A's thought Kevin Kouzmanoff was their answer at third base.Milone would have had a three-up, three-down inning in the fifth. Instead he ended up giving up three runs. The rookie left-handed pitcher did his part inducing a popup to shallow left field but Adam Rosales lost the ball in the sun and it fell safely for a single. Gose hit a double in the next at-bat, then Encarnacion was walked intentionally to load the bases. Next, Yunel Escobar smacked a two-run single to give the Jays a 5-4 lead. Kelly Johnson followed with a bloop single to shallow left to put the Jays up 6-4. It was an unfortunate turn of events for Milone.Milone has allowed 16 runs in his last 19 innings, which has to be a concern since he has been consistently good most of this season. The long ball has been a problem for Milone though. He has allowed 19 homers this season.Bullpen ReportThe A's bullpen pitched 18 and one-third innings in the last two games. As a result Oakland recalled Evan Scribner and Pedro Figueroa to provide some fresh arms for the pen. Scribner was the first to get the call out of the pen on Sunday. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the A's. He allowed three hits but didn't allow a run.Figueroa was next up. He stuck out Gose on a 95-mph fastball. Then quickly retired the next two hitters. Figueroa has some serious velocity from the left side. Scribner and Figueroa did a fantastic job giving the A's other over-worked relievers a much needed day of rest.In the FieldIn the third inning Moises Sierra hit a sky-high pop up to shallow left field. Jonny Gomes battled the sun and dropped to the ground in order to catch the ball. The sun aided the Blue Jays in the fifth inning when Rosales dropped a pop up that would have ended the inning. Three runs scored after Rosales' miscue.Norris threw out Kelly Johnson trying to steal second base in the second inning.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 18,308.Dot RaceWhite won the dot race after being slingshotted across the finish line.Up NextThe Angels come to town for a three-game series. Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, and Dan Straily will pitch in the series. They will be opposed by Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Zack Greinke.

A's spring training Day 10: Canha doubles off Gray in intrasquad game

A's spring training Day 10: Canha doubles off Gray in intrasquad game

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s had four lineups sketched out for two intrasquad games taking place simultaneously Thursday.

You couldn’t help but notice that one of the lineups in particular was packed with Oakland’s regulars, and there were plenty of highlights delivered by notable names during the two-inning game at the A’s minor league facility.

Sonny Gray gave up a run on Mark Canha’s RBI double to right-center in his inning of work but also struck out Ryon Healy with a good breaking ball. Gray’s stuff earned solid reviews from manager Bob Melvin.

Overall, Melvin was pleasantly surprised with some of the hard contact generated by his hitters, who had seen just two days of live batting practice prior to Thursday.

“Canha hits a pitch down that’s moving all over the place to right-center,” Melvin said.

In the same game, Rajai Davis hit a leadoff triple to center off Kendall Graveman and came home on Stephen Vogt’s single. Graveman got Matt Joyce looking on a fastball but gave up some hard contact in a brief 15-pitch outing. He’ll start Sunday’s game against the Angels, so Thursday’s outing acted like a between-start bullpen session.

In the other game, Sean Manaea got his three outs so quickly that they had to extend the inning a bit for him to get his work in. That game was highlighted by a long home run from infield prospect Yairo Munoz off Daniel Coulombe.

Melvin said bench coach Mark Kotsay handled duties of sketching out the rosters for the two intrasquad games, and while it will be interesting to see how Melvin writes out the lineup for Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Chicago Cubs, keep in mind that the early Cactus League games will only feature a handful of regulars in each of them.

PROSPECT WATCH: Shortstop Franklin Barreto, the A’s top-rated prospect, will also see some time at second base this spring but not in the outfield, Melvin said. Barreto has played some center field in winter ball, but general manager David Forst, during an offseason interview with CSN California, said the team envisions Barreto as an infielder. The A’s have Marcus Semien entrenched at shortstop right now, and there’s been some feeling among scouts that Barreto — whose bat is his biggest strength — is better suited for second base long-term anyway. Another highly touted prospect, Richie Martin, is a possible shortstop of the future as well.

NOTEWORTHY: The A’s have expressed optimism that reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive in camp shortly after being delayed by the visa process in the Dominican Republic. But Casilla remains day-to-day, with Melvin not giving a timetable for his arrival.

“We were going to slow-play him this spring anyway. He’ll throw some bullpens and probably throw to some hitters before we get him in a game,” Melvin said. “At this point in time I’m still not that concerned. I’ll start to be a little bit if we get into games (and he’s not in camp), but I still think we’re on a good schedule with him.”

ODDS AND ENDS: Oscar-nominated actor Mahershala Ali, an Oakland native who threw out the first pitch at an A’s game last season, arranged for a screening of his movie “Moonlight” on Thursday night for A’s players at a Scottsdale theatre. Ali is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie, which is also up for Best Picture.

“It’s nice of him to think of that and want to set that up,” reliever John Axford said. “I’ve already seen it and I’ll be there again.”

Axford, a movie fanatic and Film & Television major in college, has created a social media buzz in recent years by doing incredibly well predicting the Oscar winners. He has yet to reveal all of his picks for Sunday’s show, but he gives rave reviews to “Moonlight.”

Patience is A's motto with touted 3B prospect Matt Chapman

Patience is A's motto with touted 3B prospect Matt Chapman

MESA, Ariz. — When the A’s finally sent Matt Chapman to the minors at the end of spring training last year, it seemed his return ticket to Oakland wouldn’t be far off.

So good was the young third baseman during his first big league spring camp, it was easy to assume he’d arrive in the majors shortly. But Chapman, the No. 3 prospect in the A’s system, found the road bumpy during a full campaign with Double-A Midland, even as he put together a season that landed him Texas League Player of the Year honors.

Chapman is back for his second spring with the A’s, a year wiser having discovered what it takes to navigate the peaks and valleys of a full professional season.

“I learned that no matter how high or how low you get, it’s important to maintain an even keel,” said Chapman, who only played 80 games in 2015 due to a wrist injury. “You can have a bad week or a bad couple weeks, and it doesn’t ruin your season.”

The A’s believe they have a potential star on their hands, a Gold Glove-caliber defender who can hit for power and eventually become a fixture at the hot corner. Yet their signing of veteran third baseman Trevor Plouffe in the winter shows that they also believe Chapman, 23, still has developing to do.

The power numbers were marvelous last year, as Chapman hit the third-most homers in the minors (36) to go with 96 RBI. But he also struck out 173 times in 135 games, dealing with some timing issues that had him swinging through a ton of pitches.

A’s player development officials rave about Chapman’s work ethic and desire to excel. But his manager at Midland, Ryan Christenson, also said Chapman’s electrifying spring performance last year (he led the A’s with six homers) may have worked against him early on when he arrived at Double-A. The A’s took Chapman north with them for the Bay Bridge Series just before Opening Day, giving him a chance to take the field at the Coliseum and AT&T Park.

“You talked to him, and he thought he was gonna go right to Midland and dominate the league and be in the big leagues by July,” Christenson said. “For sure, he thought that. But that didn’t happen, and he struggled and got his butt handed to him. And he understood there was still some work to be done at that level.”

But Christenson liked how Chapman dealt with the adversity, and he was all the more impressed with Chapman’s final stats given that his season wasn’t marked by numerous hot streaks.

“If you watched him it wasn’t a consistent, successful season to the eye,” Christenson said. “Now, the numbers at the end just shows you what kind of special talent he is.”

Chapman, who played 18 games with Triple-A Nashville in a late-season promotion, will be reunited with Christenson this season as Christenson takes over as Nashville’s manager. The A’s brass will be watching closely, though the comments from A’s GM David Forst all offseason stressed a theme of patience with not only Chapman but the team’s other top position-player prospect, middle infielder Franklin Barreto.

“We’re making sure guys are ready when they get here,” Forst said. “Matt has fewer than 100 at-bats at Triple-A. I don’t know what his timeframe is as far as getting to the big leagues, but it’s clear from a development standpoint he still needs some time at Triple-A.”

Christenson said any struggles Chapman had offensively in 2016 never carried over into his play at third base. And Christenson attests to the defensive talent the A’s saw when they drafted Chapman in the first round in 2014 out of Cal State Fullerton.

“One of the best I’ve ever seen,” Christenson said. “He’s lateral, he can go back on a pop-up and make a play. He’s very adept at coming in to barehand the slow roller. You put him over at shortstop in the shift and he can make the play, and the arm is about as good as you’re ever gonna see at third base.”