Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's extra innings loss to Jays


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's extra innings loss to Jays


OAKLAND — Held relatively quiet for most of the past three days, Josh Donaldson made his presence felt loudly at the Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.

His two-run, tie-breaking homer off Frankie Montas in the top of the 10th lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-5 victory and denied the A’s their first home series sweep in more than a year. The one-time A’s All-Star third baseman came in 3-for-7 with one RBI over the first two games of the series. He drew three walks in his first four plate appearances Wednesday, then hit a towering shot to left-center in the 10th, after Oakland pitching had thrown seven scoreless innings to allow the A’s to chip away and tie the game.

It was a sour ending to a homestand that the A’s were hoping complete with a winning record. They settled for a 3-3 mark as they head out now for a six-game swing through Florida to play the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins.

The A’s haven't swept a series at the Coliseum since taking three from Minnesota May 30-June 1, 2016.

Here’s five takeaways from the homestand finale:

The long ball bites Montas again: The right-hander won a roster spot and was one of the A’s brightest stories coming out of spring training. But he’s struggled mightily of late and has allowed four homers over his past two outings. That’s nine homers he’s allowed in 28 2/3 innings this season.

There was a Rajai Davis sighting: The A’s leadoff man, batting .198 entering the day, had a double, single and triple over his first three plate appearances. He scored four runs as part of a 4-for-5 afternoon. Well, it’s a start. The veteran has been struggling enough that manager Bob Melvin has cycled five other players through the leadoff spot trying to find the right fit.

Jharel Cotton salvaged his afternoon: The rookie hit major turbulence in a four-run second, when he served up Kevin Pillar’s three-run homer and Justin Smoak’s solo shot. But battling command issues early, and with his pitch count on the rise, Cotton buckled down and retired 13 of his final 15 hitters. He left after six innings with fours all across his pitching line — 4 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Liam Hendriks absolutely dealt vs. his old team: The reliever entered in the eighth and retired all six batters he faced. That included three strikeouts. After ringing up Ryan Goins to end the top of the ninth, the former Blue Jay gave a huge fist pump and yell as he walked off the mound.

Plouffe snaps his dry spell: The A’s third baseman homered in the fourth to end a career long 0-for-25 streak.

A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter


A's announce 2018 Opening Day starter

For the second straight season, Kendall Graveman will get the ball on Opening Day for the A's. And for the second straight year, he'll face Mike Trout and the Angels.

The team made the news official on Tuesday morning.

Last year, in a win over the Angels, Graveman went six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out seven.

"It's something I don't take for granted. It's an honor and a privilege and [I just want to] try to get the season off to a good start and hopefully be a leader of this staff," Graveman told reporters Tuesday in Arizona.

In four seasons with the A's and Blue Jays, Graveman has a 4.11 ERA in 76 appearances.

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.