A's defense becomes a storyline for all the right reasons

A's defense becomes a storyline for all the right reasons

OAKLAND — Jackie Bradley Jr. turned in the play of the night Friday, a home run-robbing catch in the bottom of the ninth that will live on in highlight shows for the rest of the year.

The A’s turned in their own brand of excellent defense, however, and it was a big key to a 3-2 10-inning victory over the Red Sox that gave them their third win in the past four games.

When talk centers around defensive play, it usually hasn’t been positive for Oakland in 2017. They lead the majors with 38 errors and entered the night tied with San Diego for the major league lead in unearned runs. But they turned in several impressive plays to back starter Kendall Graveman and four relievers in front of a fireworks night crowd of 24,728 at the Coliseum.

“It’s a game where you have to be good defensively. They were too,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Hopefully that’s not what beats you. A lot of times at the end of close games it does. But it didn’t for us tonight.”

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, after making a throwing error earlier in the game, made a terrific backhand stop and long throw to first — with Ryon Healy digging the ball out of the dirt — to get Graveman out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

The A’s best sequence in the field came in the top of the seventh with the score 2-2. With a runner on first after Ryan Madson issued a leadoff walk, second baseman Jed Lowrie went up the middle to cut off Mookie Betts grounder and flipped to second for a force out on a close play. Right after that, Betts tried to steal second and catcher Josh Phegley snapped off a quick throw to nail him, with shortstop Adam Rosales fielding the short hop and putting down a quick tag.

Khris Davis added a running catch in the left field corner to end the top of the 10th and set the stage for Mark Canha’s walk-off homer.

Before the game, injured shortstop Marcus Semien praised Rosales’ play at short in his absence.

“He definitely has one of the best arms I’ve seen at shortstop,” Semien said. “He’s doing a great job considering he hasn’t had an everyday role for a while, especially at shortstop.”

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Healy launched a drive toward right-center that looked like it might be the game winner. But Bradley Jr. leapt high and made a sensational grab over the wall to send the game to extras.

“He’s a great center fielder,” Healy said. “I don’t know if surprised is the right word. It’s not something I want to see ever again. But hat’s off to him.”


Matched up against Boston’s Chris Sale, Graveman pitched well with six innings of two-run ball. He struck out five and walked three over 105 pitches.

A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher


A's agree to deal with familiar veteran pitcher

UPDATE (Mar. 19, 7:45 p.m. PT): The A's officially announced the Cahill signing on Monday. This story has been updated to reflect that.

On the same day the Oakland A's learned they'd be without Jharel Cotton all season, they signed a familiar face to bolster their pitching depth. 

Oakland agreed to a one-year deal with Trevor Cahill, nearly 12 years after the A's drafted him in the second round. 

Cahill pitched for Oakland from 2009-11. He started 96 games in three seasons with the A's, going 40-35 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Since Oakland traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. 2011, Cahill's pitched for six teams. 

The 30-year-old won a World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, and pitched for the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals last season. In 2017, he went 4-3 in 21 appearances (14 starts) with a 4.93 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. 

A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season


A's Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss 2018 season

The A's will be without starting pitcher Jharel Cotton for the entire 2018 season as he is set to undergo Tommy John surgery. 

Cotton, 26, went 9-10 with a 5.58 ERA in 2017 after a rookie season in which he went 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts. Leading up to the injury, he was 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA over four appearances in spring training.

Watch Cotton react to the news: