A's dodge no-hitter in ninth inning, but fall to Braves

A's dodge no-hitter in ninth inning, but fall to Braves


OAKLAND — Many A’s fans likely hadn’t heard of Mike Foltynewicz before Friday, and those who knew his name probably couldn’t pronounce it.

The Braves right-hander thrust himself into the national baseball spotlight, coming within three outs after throwing the first no-hitter at the A’s in 26 years.

Matt Olson homered on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the ninth and spoil the no-hit bid, though Oakland couldn’t avoid a 3-1 loss to Atlanta at the Coliseum.

Thus, the major leagues’ longest streak of a team not being no-hit remains intact.

The last time the A’s were held hitless came way back on July 13, 1991, a combined no-no at the Coliseum by the Baltimore Orioles’ Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson.

Foltynewicz — it’s pronounced Fol-ten-eh-vich — had never even thrown a complete game in his three-plus big league career before Friday. But the 25-year-old took an otherwise nondescript interleague game between two sub-.500 teams and injected a shot of drama into it.

Just four Athletics reached base, all via walks, leading up to the ninth. Scattered applause came from the crowd of 19,286 as Foltynewicz emerged from the dugout and took the mound trying to finish off the no-no, his pitch count at 110.

Olson, a rookie playing in just his 25th big league game, worked the count full and ended a nine-pitch at-bat by hitting a 94 mile-per-hour fastball over the right field wall. That was his last batter, as Braves manager Brian Snitker came to get Foltynewicz after 119 pitches. Former Athletic Jim Johnson gave up Jed Lowrie’s double but then struck out three in a row to end it.

That storyline overshadowed what was a terrific start by the A’s Sonny Gray, who went eight innings and gave up just one run on two hits.

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.