A's drop eighth consecutive home opener


A's drop eighth consecutive home opener


OAKLAND -- For the first time in 2012, the A's took the field at the Oakland Coliseum Friday night, but Brandon McCarthy could not maintain his dominance over the Mariners in front of an announced sellout of 35,067, as he was chased after five innings.Yoenis Cespedes provided A's fans something to cheer for, but Oakland never posed a serious threat after the Mariners' four-run third inning.The A's lost their eighth consecutive home opener by a score of 7-3, and fell to 1-2 on the young season.Co-Players of the Game: Batting eight and ninth for the Mariners, center fielder Michael Saunders and shortstop Brendan Ryan went a combined 4-for-7. They were catalysts for all four of Seattle's scoring rallies and amassed four runs between them.Turning point: After Brendan Ryan's double to lead off the third inning, Chone Figgins laid down a sacrifice bunt. Charging hard, Josh Donaldson threw off balance to first base. His throw sailed right and nailed Figgins between the numbers. Ryan scored, Figgins advanced to second, and the Mariners' four-run inning was in motion.Where he left off?: In his last five starts against the Mariners, McCarthy has been dominant to the tune of three complete games, a 1.86 ERA, a .182 Mariners batting average, 30 strikeouts and three walks.The first two innings went as McCarthy expected. Aside from a couple of base hits -- one from Dustin Ackley who homered off McCarthy in Game 1 -- the Mariners looked innocuous.The third inning was a different story. It started double-error-single-walk. All four base runners scored.In Game 1 this season, it took McCarthy just 82 pitches to get through seven innings of one-run ball against Seattle. He threw 59 strikes. Friday, McCarthy had to wind and throw 95 times to get through five innings. He threw 58 strikes.G-G-G-G-Get the tape!: Before the game, Bob Melvin said, "You want to make a great first impression on the fans."That's exactly what Yoenis Cespedes did with the A's trailing 5-0 in the fourth inning. His mighty hack connected with a 2-1 pitch from Jason Vargas and sent fans, media, and the Twitter world into a frenzy.Cespedes' shot may have dented the concrete facade above the luxury suites in left center field, a solid 40 feet above the 388-foot sign in left-center.Cespedes, who sent an almost identical shot in BP, now has two home runs in three MLB games. He looks awfully comfortable in that trot.When asked about hitting in the cold Oakland weather before the game, Cespedes said through a translator that when he hits it well, it's gone.He wasn't lying. It measured 462 feet.Squandering the sixth: The A's got a break in the sixth inning when, following Coco Crisp's leadoff single, Jason Vargas threw Josh Reddick's comebacker into center field.With two runners on, none out, and Jonny Gomes, Yoenis Cespedes and Kurt Suzuki coming to the plate, things looked good for the A's.But Oakland's extensive foul ground victimized a visibly frustrated Gomes, Cespedes struck out after corkscrewing himself into the ground and visiting with trainers, and Kurt Suzuki grounded out to third to end the threat.Squeeze it: Every so often you see an infielder drop a ball transferring the ball to his throwing hand. Rarely do you see it happen to an outfielder.In the third inning, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Mariners cleanup hitter Justin Smoak skied a ball to left-center field. Coco Crisp stood under it, but Yoenis Cespedes came flying in, called off Crisp, made the catch, and squared to home.Cespedes' reputation was enough to keep the speedy Figgins from attempting to tag up, but had he broke for home it would have been an easy score as the ball slipped from Cespedes' glove on the transfer.A batter later, Jesus Montero flied to right, where Josh Reddick waited. He made the catch, but as he prepped to throw, the ball slipped out of his glove. Figgins, who was tagging this time, scored easily, and the Mariners' big inning continued.Both Cespedes and Reddick attempted their catches with one hand.In the pinch: Seth Smith was called upon in the bottom of the eighth inning, pinch hitting for Jonny Gomes, who might have still been fuming from his pop-out with two runners on two innings prior.Smith fouled off two pitches in a 1-2 count before roping on a 96-mph fastball to right field.Jemile Weeks scored, Coco Crisp advanced, and Bob Melvin gained a little trust in Smith.Delaying history: Ichiro Suzuki, batting third for just the 16th time in his career, went 0-for-5. He still needs three hits against the A's surpass Rod Carew as the all-time leader.The A's still have 16 games against Ichiro's Mariner's this year.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'


Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.