Athletics

Instant Replay: A's bats put it all together on offense to beat Royals

Instant Replay: A's bats put it all together on offense to beat Royals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY – The A’s coasted to the kind of low-stress victory Wednesday that every major league manager should get to savor once in a while.

They established season highs in runs and hits as they hammered the Royals 8-3 to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The victory was the A's eighth in a row over the Royals.

Eight of the nine hitters in Oakland’s starting lineup had at least one hit. The lone player who didn’t, leadoff man Marcus Semien, walked twice, scored two runs and had a stolen base.

That made it an easy night for skipper Bob Melvin, who made a minor lineup tweak as he dropped Ryon Healy down to the sixth spot and moved Jed Lowrie into the ‘3’ hole. The switch paid dividends, as Lowrie notched a team-high three RBI, and Healy — who entered the night 5-for-32 — had a single and a double.

A team that’s done most of its damage with the long ball this season, the A’s (5-4) instead bunched together singles and doubles Wednesday, knocking former Athletic Jason Hammel (0-1) from the game after 4 2/3 innings.

The beneficiary was right-hander Andrew Triggs (2-0), who has yet to allow an earned run through his first two starts, spanning 11 2/3 innings.

The A’s will go for the sweep in Thursday night’s road trip finale against the Royals, who fell to 2-6 and have scored the second-fewest runs in the American League (24).

Starting pitching report

Triggs held the Royals to four hits over six innings with three strikeouts and a walk. Kansas City put the leadoff hitter aboard in three of the first four innings, but Triggs bore down with men on base. He stranded six runners total.

Bullpen report

Ryan Dull, Liam Hendriks and Frankie Montas handled the final three innings, with the Royals scoring two runs off Hendriks in the eighth on the strength of three hits and a walk. It was Hendriks’ third appearance, but his first in six days.

At the plate

Good stuff up and down the box score for the A’s. Lowrie’s two-run double highlighted a four-run sixth that turned a 4-0 game into 8-0. Rajai Davis got the A’s on the board with a double that scored Trevor Plouffe all the way from first in a the third inning. Three singles, including Yonder Alonso’s run-scoring hit to left-center, and a sacrifice fly from Plouffe made it 3-0 in the fourth. The next inning, Semien walked and stole his fourth base of the season to help set up Lowrie’s sacrifice fly, as the A’s came through with good situational hitting with runners in scoring position.

In the field

Rajai Davis made a key early play in center field. His diving catch to rob Alcides Escobar saved a run in the second and got Triggs out of that inning. Right fielder Matt Joyce also had a terrific catch in the ninth, making a running grab as he crashed into the wall on Cheslor Cuthbert’s deep drive.

Attendance

The announced crowd was 24,380.

Up next

After a quick promotion from the minors and an encouraging long-relief outing against Texas, Jesse Hahn (0-0, 3.00) makes his first start of the season Thursday. Lefty Jason Vargas (1-0, 5.40) goes for the Royals. First pitch is 5:15 p.m.

Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

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Ryan Christenson named bench coach as A's solidify 2018 staff

Ryan Christenson has worked his way up the coaching ladder in the A’s farm system, and on Thursday he was named the team’s new major league bench coach.

The announcement makes Christenson, 43, the right-hand man for manager Bob Melvin and essentially the No. 2 man in the dugout. It also settles a position that was in flux over the course of the 2017 season. Mark Kotsay began this past season as bench coach but stepped away from the team in June to be with his family after his daughter, Sienna, suffered a serious eye injury.

Kotsay is expected to remain with the big league club in some form of non-everyday role. Chip Hale finished the season as bench coach but will now switch back to third base coach, a position he originally was hired for leading into the 2017 season. Hale also coaches Oakland’s infielders.

“At some point in time we knew Ryan was going to be here,” Melvin said. “He went through all the classifications (managing in the minors). He did well with a young group. It’s a good fit bringing him in, and he’s ready for the bench coach role. He’s done a lot of managing.”

Though the bench coach works in closest tandem with a manager throughout the game, Melvin also noted the importance of having a third-base coach that thinks right along with him and is on the same page. From that standpoint, he said having Hale in that role is important.

“Chip’s so good at third, that even though I’m used to having him on the bench, it’s tough not to use him (at third),” Melvin said. “Certainly this isn’t a demotion for Chip.”

It’s the first appointment on a major league staff for Christenson, who has spent the past five seasons managing in Oakland’s farm system, starting with low Single-A and working his way up to Triple-A Nashville this season. He led Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League titles in 2015-16, and his teams went 391-307 (.561) over those five seasons.

The rest of Melvin’s coaching staff will return intact in 2018. That includes pitching coach Scott Emerson, who took over that role midseason after the firing of Curt Young, and hitting coach Darren Bush. Like Christenson, Emerson and Bush both were promoted from within the farm system to their eventual spots on the big league staff.

All three men have extensive history coaching the large group of young players that are establishing themselves as the A’s core, and that’s a factor worth keeping in mind when evaluating the makeup of this staff.

Emerson, who assumed Young’s duties in June, will return as pitching coach despite the A’s staff posting a 4.67 ERA, highest by an Oakland staff since 1999. A’s pitchers also surrendered an Oakland-record 210 home runs.

“Similar to Ryan, he knows everybody, what we have here and in the minor leagues,” Melvin said of Emerson. “He’s been a good fit here and continues to be a good fit.”

Bush oversaw a group of hitters that showed improvement as the season wore on, scoring the fifth-most runs in the American League after the All-Star break. The A’s set a franchise record for strikeouts – in line with the rise in whiffs throughout the majors -- but also hit the fourth-most homers in franchise history.

Melvin’s staff is rounded out by first base coach Mike Aldrete, bullpen coach Garvin Alston and assistant hitting coach/catching coach Marcus Jensen. Steve Scarsone, who filled in as interim third base coach from June through the rest of the season, will resume his duties as a traveling instructor throughout the farm system.

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

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Twitter @KatieUtehs

Young A’s fan writes letter to team after fires take home, beloved memorabilia

Young Athletics fan Loren Jade Smith is among the thousands of people affected by the Northern California wildfires. Along with his family's home, the fire storm took his most valued possession -- his A's memorabilia collection. 

In his disappointment, Smith wrote a letter to the A's that has since gone viral. 

After the letter was shared throughout the Twitterverse, A's President Dave Kaval said the team would reach out to Jade and his family to replace his memorabilia. 

And since Kaval's announcement, the A's community of fans has responded with offers to send the young fan some memorabilia. The A's have even set up an address where fans can send Smith their gifts.