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


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


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 GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A's GM Forst feels passion of fans, will not second-guess decisions

A’s general manager David Forst says he has a stack of strongly worded letters from fans who grow frustrated with many of the team’s personnel moves.

That comes with the territory of running a major league front office. But Forst also said, during a wide-ranging interview on the latest A’s Insider Podcast, that honest critiquing must come from within office walls.

“You do want to do some self-evaluation and self-assessing,” Forst said. “What I don’t do, I don’t go back and second-guess decisions, whether it’s a trade or a signing. I don’t sort of hypothetically think, ‘Well, what if we hadn’t done this,’ because it’s not a good use of anybody’s time. What you do have to do is make sure the process that led to that decision is sound and a good one.”

Certainly one of the most scrutinized A’s moves of recent history was their signing of designated hitter Billy Butler to a three-year $30 million contract in November 2014. That turned out to be a costly mistake, with Butler being released in September with one year left on his deal and the A’s still on the hook for roughly $10 million. Forst acknowledged how poorly that decision worked out but sticks by the initial motivation to sign Butler.

“Look, Billy Butler didn’t go the way we expected, and that’s one that gets brought up a lot,” Forst said. “But I think back to the time when we made that decision to sign him, and what we were projecting Billy to do. It was very clear what our team needed. Again, going into 2015, coming off the wild card that year, we still felt like this was a team that could compete for a division title. So all the things that went into the decision, ultimately I will stand by.”

Forst spoke frankly about several other topics during the podcast. Regarding fans’ frustration about seeing so many high-profile players traded:

“I’ve got a stack of letters on my desk, the substance of which I can’t repeat on the air,” he said with a smile. “… But there’s passion. And I know we have a fan base that cares, and that’s really a good place to be.”

Forst said the A’s definitely will pursue starting pitching this offseason, despite the fact that 1) he’s very optimistic about the crop of young pitching Oakland has developed, and 2) he believes Sonny Gray will bounce back from a poor 2016 season. The GM takes encouragement that Gray made a full physical recovery from a strained forearm.

“Am I going to get the Cy Young (caliber pitcher) from Day 1? I don’t know. But I think there’s a confidence that this was an aberration, this whole year, more than anything else.”

Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


Crisp homers as Indians shut out Blue Jays to advance to World Series


TORONTO -- A most unlikely pitching performance helped put a most unexpected team into the World Series.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Cleveland Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Indians will try to boost what's already been a magical year in Cleveland after LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city's first sports championship since 1964. The Indians' title drought dates to 1948.

The Dodgers led the Cubs 2-1 going into Game 4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night. Cleveland didn't play either team this season.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Then it was up to Cleveland's tireless relievers to hold a three-run lead.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 2 2/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Winner Bryan Shaw worked an inning before Miller came in.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.