Athletics

Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

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Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Red Sox 2

OAKLAND The As attacked Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the gate and benefited from another quality start from Brett Anderson to complete a three-game sweep of the Red Sox with a 6-2 win Sunday at the O.co Coliseum.The As outscored the Red Sox 33-5 in the series and finished 8-1 against Boston this season, which tops their 18-3 record against Boston in 1928.Oakland has now won nine straight games and remains just three games back of the Texas Rangers in the American League West.Starting pitching reportIn his third start since a 14-month layoff due to Tommy John surgery, Anderson had his worst start of the season. Anderson allowed one run in six innings; thats how high he set the bar in his first two starts. Anderson allowed one run in seven innings in his 2012 debut on Aug. 21 and then came back with seven shutout innings on Aug. 27 at Cleveland.Anderson needed just 11 pitches to get through the first inning, in which the only blemish was a single by Dustin Pedroia that extended his hit streak to 13 games. The As southpaw was even more efficient in the second, as he threw 10 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning that ended with a strikeout of Mike Aviles.The Red Sox continued to flail against Andersons arsenal, as they could muster a lone single in the third through fifth innings. Anderson struck out two and got five more of his outs on the ground over that span.Anderson finally ran into his first real trouble in the sixth, when he walked Bostons No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias to lead off the inning. Iglesias was forced out at second on Pedro Ciriacos near-double play grounder and Anderson followed by inducing a pop up off the bat of Scott Podsednik. Unfortunately for Anderson and the As, the pop up found some empty real estate on the line in shallow left. Pedroia followed with a sharp grounder that Josh Donaldson made a great diving stop on, but he couldnt complete the play as the Red Sox loaded the bases.Cody Ross stroked a clean single to left to plate the first run against Anderson, but Yoenis Cespedes made sure Boston didnt get a second across with a perfect throw home to nail Podsednik. Anderson ended the inning emphatically with a strikeout of Mauro Gomez.After watching Anderson throw 90 pitches on the afternoon, As manager Bob Melvin decided to play it safe with a comfortable lead and turned to his bullpen in the seventh.Anderson improved to 3-0 on the season, but had his miniscule ERA jump to 0.90. He allowed one run on five hits and a walk in six innings and struck out four Red Sox, all swinging. Sixty of his 90 pitches were thrown for strikes.Bullpen reportOne-time closer Ryan Cook got the first nod from Melvin to relieve Anderson and set the Red Sox down in order, including an inning-ending strikeout of James Loney, the man with the unenviable task of taking over for Adrian Gonzalez.Sean Doolittle followed with a scoreless inning of his own before Grant Balfour took over in the ninth. Dustin Pedroia led off the final frame with a double and came around to score on a sacrifice fly, but Balfour bounced back to end the game with a strikeout of Ryan Lavarnway.At the plateThe As wasted no time pouncing on Daisuke Matsuzaka. Coco Crisp forced Dice-K to throw seven pitches as he coaxed a leadoff walk, then came around to score on a towering drive into the right-centerfield seats by Seth Smith.Matsuzaka left a pitch over the middle of the plate in the second inning that Stephen Drew turned on for his first home run as a member of the Athletics.Crisp and Smith combined to start another As rally in the third inning. Crisp led off the frame with another walk, stole second, and advanced to third on Smiths line drive single to right. Crisp scored his second run and the As fourth when Josh Reddick lifted a sacrifice fly to left-centerfield. But the As werent done yet. After Cespedes hit a fly ball to right for the second out, Oakland loaded the bases with a Brandon Moss single and Josh Donaldson walk. A visibly upset Matsuzaka then gave up a single to Drew that scored Smith. Matsuzaka left the bases loaded by striking out Derek Norris, but departed the mound after the fourth inning having allowed five runs and thrown 78 pitches, 45 for strikes.Much maligned manager Bobby Valentine allowed Matsuzaka to try to complete his first scoreless inning, but the move backfired. Cliff Pennington led off the fourth with a bunt single and came around to score on a bases-loaded groundout from Cespedes. Chris Carter, brought in to pinch hit when Valentine pulled Matsuzaka for lefty Andrew Miller, struck out to end the threat.Once Matsuzaka left the game, the As had a hard time piling on more runs, as they were held scoreless by the Boston bullpen the rest of the way.In fieldReddick made a running catch of Jose Iglesias sinking line drive on the 10-yard line in right field.Reddick has racked up his fair share of outfield assists this season, but it was Cespedes turn to show off his cannon Sunday. With the bases loaded against Anderson in the sixth, Ross singled to left and Red Sox third base coach Jerry Royster tried to push a second run across. Cespedes charged the ball and threw a perfect no-hop strike to Norris at home plate to beat speedster Scott Podsednik and keep the As lead at 6-1.On the basesAfter working his second walk in two plate appearances in the third inning, Crisp took off for second and stole his 31st base of the season without a throw from Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway.Pennington showed off some wheels in the fourth, racing down the first-base line for a bunt single before stealing second for his 15th theft of the campaign.AttendanceThe As announced a paid crowd of 25,314 on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The event raised 53,600 for the American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.Up nextThe streaking As will look to match their longest win streak since the legendary 20-gamer with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which would be their 10th straight. Young southpaw Tommy Milone (11-9, 3.73 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener in Anaheim and the Angels will start Oakland Public Enemy No. 1 C.J. Wilson (10-9, 3.86 ERA).

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

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AP

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

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Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

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AP

Ryon Healy trade has domino effect

The A’s wasted no time making their first major move of the offseason, and it has a domino effect on how their 2018 lineup will take shape.

The trade of young slugger Ryon Healy to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday paves the way for left fielder Khris Davis to start getting heavy at-bats as the designated hitter, the spot left vacant by Healy.

It also points to another move the A’s want to pull off — acquiring a right-handed hitting corner outfielder who presumably can eat up those defensive innings that Davis spends as the DH.

It’s a series of moves that isn’t all that surprising given the A’s roster makeup right now. Healy, who hit .282 with 38 homers in 221 games over his first two big league seasons, is capable of playing either first or third base. But Matt Olson and Matt Chapman secured those spots, respectively, with their solid showings as rookies last season.

“We’ve obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen,” A’s general manager David Forst said on a conference call Wednesday night. “At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt, on the corners, maybe Ryon needed to be somebody we might have to move ...”

It makes sense for Oakland to find a way to shift Davis from being the everyday left fielder while still keeping his 40-homer bat in the lineup. Opponents have routinely taken extra bases the past two seasons on Davis’ throwing arm, and whether they add a newcomer to play left or shift Joyce or someone else there, chances are they can benefit from better defense in left.

The A’s also feel they got an important chip back from Seattle to help bolster a bullpen that ranked 13th in the American League last season with a 4.57 ERA. They received right-hander Emilio Pagan (along with minor league shortstop Alexander Campos), and figure that the 26-year-old Pagan is someone the A’s have pegged to be an immediate contributor in their ‘pen.

A 10th round draft pick in 2013, Pagan made his big league debut in 2017 and posted a 3.22 ERA over 34 games spread over four stints with Seattle. He endured a rocky first couple of outings but, after being called up for good in the second half, eventually worked his way into a late-inning setup role. Pagan struck out 56 and walked just eight in 50 1/3 innings, numbers that surely popped out to Oakland’s front office.

He’ll likely be called upon in middle relief to help set the table for Chris Hatcher and closer Blake Treinen, as the bullpen currently looks.

Campos, just 17, spent this past season in the Dominican Summer League, and Forst said the A’s were eyeing Campos last summer when they eventually traded Yonder Alonso to the Mariners. Oakland wound up getting center fielder Boog Powell back in that deal.

Did the A’s rake in enough for Healy? As with all trades, it will take time to judge. But it’s fair to say that Healy’s departure will be felt in a clubhouse that is characterized by the emergence of many young position players, and he was a part of that group. In fact, when Healy was called up in July 2016 — knocking Danny Valencia out as the regular third baseman — he became the first of several promising position-player prospects to establish himself in Oakland’s lineup.

He rented a house in the East Bay and eventually took in Chapman, Olson and Chad Pinder as roommates. There’s a fiery side to Healy’s on-field personality that was a positive for the A’s, and watching him play Oakland as a member of an AL West rival will make for entertaining theatre.

Another storyline is how Davis takes to being a regular DH. Forst praised Davis’ approach to his game and doesn’t anticipate any problems, adding that the A’s still want to get Davis some time in the outfield.