Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 7, Athletics 2

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Twins 7, Athletics 2

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OAKLAND -- The A's had won four games in a row. The Twins had lost five straight. Brandon McCarthy was 2-0 in four career starts against Minnesota. On paper, this game looked like an easy win. That's why they play the games.The Twins rocked starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy for six runs snapping all of the aforementioned streaks with a 7-2 victory over Oakland.While the final tally may be disappointing for A's fans, there was some news to pique their interests. The A's acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks for a Minor Leaguer during the game.Starting Pitching ReportThere has to be some concern about the health of starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who has been on the disabled list twice this season. The A's opening day starting pitcher is one of the most consistent pitchers in the American League when healthy. On Monday he allowed six runs -- all earned -- on 10 hits. He walked in a run and hit a batter. It very well could just be an off-night for the tall righty, but he didn't look like himself on the mound. McCarthy was out of control in the first inning. He walked in a run and hit a batter while throwing 32 pitches. The Twins collected three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third hit was an RBI double by Josh Willingham.Willingham added an RBI single in the second inning off McCarthy. The former A's hitter has five homers and 14 RBIs vs. his former team this season. The A's might need to consider a new approach with him. That, or just stop pitching to him all together.McCarthy settled down with a clean frame in the third inning. He gave up back-to-back hits to start the fourth inning. Darin Mastroianni bunted the runners into scoring position. Joe Mauer drove them both in with a two-run single to right field giving the Twins a 6-2 lead. That would be it for McCarthy. He only lasted three and one-third innings.Bullpen ReportTravis Blackley bailed out the A's bullpen. He allowed just one run over five and two-thirds innings. He gave up five hits and one walk.Coco Crisp made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in center field to rob Ryan Doumit of an extra-base hit in the ninth. After making the catch Crisp threw the ball in to cutoff man Adam Rosales who chucked the ball to first base to double off Justin Morneau. Blackley stood on the mound saluting Crisp, and clapped.At the PlateYoenis Cespedes sparked the A's offense. He beat out a throw from third base for an infield single, stole his 12th base uncontested, then scored easily on a Josh Donaldson double into the right-field gap. Cespedes' infield single was his 100th MLB hit.In the fourth inning Crisp reached base on an error, stole his 27th base, and advanced to third when the ball got away from shortstop Pedro Florimon. Crisp ended up scoring on an RBI groundout by Josh Reddick. Through four innings pretty much the only thing that was working for the A's was their base running.AttendanceThe A's announced an attendance of 10,274.Dot RaceBlue wins the dot race in a photo finish with Red.Up NextThe highly anticipated return of Brett Anderson takes place on Tuesday. He underwent season-ending "Tommy John" surgery in 2011. Anderson is confident that he is ready to return.The Twins will be sending Cole De Vries (2-4, 5.04 ERA) to the mound. De Vries is 0-2 with a 9.49 in his last three starts. He gave up seven runs on July 14 against Oakland.

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

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Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.