Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 5, Orioles 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 5, Orioles 2

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The A's gloves and jerseys were golden on Saturday night. They defeated Baltimore 5-2 to win the season series and now are ensured home field advantage if they end the season tied with the Orioles atop the Wild Card standings. Coupled with the Rangers' loss on Saturday, the A's are now two games behind Texas in the American League West and a season-high 23 games over .500. At the PlateAll of the A's runs scored in a five-run, 10-batter rally against Orioles' starting pitcher Zach Britton in the third inning. Stephen Drew got the scoring started with a solo homer to right field, his second for Oakland this season. He ended up striking out to end the inning. Josh Reddick went opposite field poking an RBI single to where the shortstop would have been standing if the shift wasn't on. Reddick's 76th RBI made it a 2-0 game. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a sharp RBI single up the middle driving in Jonny Gomes who was hit by a pitch. Chris Carter followed with a two-run oppositie field double scoring Reddick and Cespedes. When Carter hit the ball, Cespedes got such a good read and was running so fast that he almost blew right past Reddick on the base paths. When the dust settled from the A's offensive explosion it was a 5-2 game and Britton had thrown 38 pitches in the inning. Reddick added a double in the seventh inning, then advanced to third on a wild pitch during an intentional walk to Cespedes. Carter drew a walk to load the bases. The A's couldn't add on to their lead though. Josh Donaldson popped out to right and Derek Norris hit a foul pop up to third to end the inning. Starting Pitching ReportJarrod Parker fell behind early but didn't falter. He lasted seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. He won his 11th game of the season. Parker was charged with an error after a pickoff throw got past Carter in the second inning allowing Jones to race to third. He scored with ease when Mark Reynolds hit a double down the left field line to make it 1-0. He gave up a solo homer in the third inning to leadoff hitter Nate McLouth on a fastball. That was all the damage that was done against Parker. The rookie starting pitcher benefitted greatly from some slick glove work in the fourth frame. Adam Jones hit a leadoff single and Chris Davis followed with a double but Jones was gunned down at home on the play. After the defensive effort, Parker retired 11 of the next 13 batters. Bullpen ReportSean Doolittle pitched a hitless eighth inning and struck out one. Grant Balfour entered with a three run lead in the ninth inning looking for his 19th save of the season. He gave up a hit and a walk but escaped unscathed for the save. In the FieldThe A's picked up where they left off Friday night by turning a double play in the first inning. The Orioles have grounded into five double plays in this series. In the second inning Drew made a smart decision that followed a bad decision by Reynolds, who got caught between second and third base on a hard-hit ground ball hit directly to the shortstop. Reynolds ended up in a rundown when Drew elected to go after the lead runner instead of the out at first. Drew also made a highlight reel play in the seventh inning ranging up the middle and flipping the ball with his glove to second base. He finished the seventh by running deep into foul territory and making a catch near the bullpen mound. In the fourth inning Jones reached on a single and was gunned down at home on a perfect defensive play by the A's following a Davis double. Cespedes got to the ball and made a strong throw to Drew, who made a perfect throw to Norris, who caught the ball and made the tag on Jones as he slid home. Donaldson made a ranging catch to end the top of the fourth inning. He ran all the way to the tarp and fell over the top of the rolled-up rain protector as he hauled in the ball. AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 20,342. Dot RaceGold wins the dot race. White bumped Green off the track right before the finish line. Up NextThe A's will go for the series sweep on Sunday. The Orioles announced their starter for Sunday shortly before Saturday's game. They have decided to go with lefty Randy Wolf (5-10, 5.69 ERA). It will be Wolf's first start for Baltimore, and his first since Aug. 19 with Milwaukee. He will be the third lefty in a row the A's face. Dan Straily (2-0, 3.42 ERA) will be on the mound for the A's. It will be his fifth career start. The A's have won all four games started by Straily this season.

Royals ace Yordano Ventura dies in car crash at 25 years old

Royals ace Yordano Ventura dies in car crash at 25 years old

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, whose electric arm and confident demeanor helped lead his long-suffering team to the 2015 World Series title, died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic early Sunday. He was 25.

With the fitting nickname of "Ace," Ventura burst onto the baseball scene with a 100 mph fastball and an explosive attitude to match. He was a fierce competitor always willing to challenge hitters inside, then deal with the ramifications when they decided to charge the mound.

Not surprisingly, he quickly became a fan favorite as Kansas City embraced baseball once again.

"Our prayers right now are with Yordano's family as we mourn this young man's passing," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. "He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano."

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. Mateo did not say whether Ventura was driving.

Also Sunday, former major league infielder Andy Marte died in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic. Metropolitan traffic authorities said he died about 95 miles north of the capital.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura," players union executive Tony Clark said. "It's never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and there are no words to describe the feeling of losing two young men in the prime of their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, teammates and fans throughout the United States and Latin America."

Ventura is the second young pitching star to die in past four months. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was among three men killed in a boating accident in late September, when the 24-year-old pitcher's boat crashed into a jetty off Miami Beach in the early morning hours.

Ventura went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 2014, his first full season in the big leagues, and helped the long-downtrodden Royals reach the World Series for the first time since 1985. He proceeded to dominate San Francisco in both of his starts, though the Royals would ultimately lose in seven games.

In an eerie coincidence, Ventura paid tribute to his friend and countryman, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, with a handwritten message on his cap during Game 6. Taveras also was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, and his funeral occurred just hours before Ventura stepped on the mound.

The following year, now firmly entrenched in the rotation, Ventura helped lead Kansas City back to the World Series, pitching well in two starts against Toronto in the AL championship Series. The Royals went on to beat the New York Mets in five games to win their second championship.

Not surprisingly, the Royals moved quickly to sign their burgeoning young ace to a five-year contract through the 2019 season that included two more options that could have kept him in Kansas City.

He wound up pitching his entire career for the Royals, going 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA.

Born June 3, 1991, in Samana, Dominican Republic, Ventura represented a true rags-to-riches story. He quit school at 14 and was laboring on a construction crew to support his family when Ventura heard about a tryout, which led to a spot in the Royals' academy located on his picturesque island home.

Still, the odds were long that Ventura would ever make it to the big leagues. Very few players from the Dominican academies reached the pinnacle of the sport.

But over time, Ventura was able to harness one of the most electric fastballs that scouts had seen in years, and his headstrong and confident nature was essential in his rapid rise. He made his big league debut to great fanfare in 2013, allowing just one run again Cleveland in a sign of things to come.

He eventually became a cornerstone of a youth movement that included young stars such as first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, one that carried the Royals first to respectability, then to the top of the American League — rare heights the organization had not experienced in decades.

Hosmer took to Twitter upon hearing the news of Ventura's death, saying: "I love you my brother. I'm in disbelief and don't know what to say. I love you ACE."

Moustakas also expressed disbelief, tweeting: "I love you Ace. I don't know what to say other than I'm going to miss you a lot. RIP ACE."

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.