Athletics

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Just back from the minors, Jharel Cotton totally knew what he was doing.

He was taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium.

"I thought about it too much," the Oakland rookie admitted.

Matt Holliday broke up Cotton's bid with a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth, and that sent resurgent CC Sabathia and New York to a 3-2 victory Saturday.

"Pitching at Yankee Stadium, it's a great feeling. A lot of guys don't get to pitch at Yankee Stadium," Cotton said. "I wanted it to be a spectacular one."

He certainly made it interesting until Holliday connected.

"That was a big hit. It was the first the kid gave up, but he's got some interesting stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees wound up winning with only two hits - the first time they've done that with so few at home since 1988.

Promoted from Triple-A Nashville before the game, Cotton (3-5) hadn't come close to giving up anything when he retired the first two batters in the sixth. Yet he had thrown a lot of pitches.

After Gary Sanchez walked, Holliday teed off to left-center field. He homered on Cotton's 105th delivery for a 3-1 lead, sending a drive to nearly the exact spot where Frankie Montas was warming up in the Oakland bullpen.

"I think he made pitches in big spots. I'd never faced him and I don't think any guys had faced him. So sometimes that can be a challenge," Holliday said.

Starlin Castro followed with a sharp single that finished Cotton, who struck out five and walked three in his 13th big league start.

Even if Cotton had closed out the sixth, "that probably would've been it," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Cotton made his debut last September. The 25-year-old righty began this season in the Athletics' rotation but was sent down to the minors May 11 to refine his game.

The last pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees all by himself was Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958 for Baltimore. In 2003, six Houston pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees.

Sabathia (5-2) has won three straight starts for the first time since April 2013. The 36-year-old lefty pitched into the seventh and struck out nine.

Dellin Betances escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the eighth, an inning that included the ejections of A's hitter Jed Lowrie and Melvin for arguing strike three calls. Betances closed for his fifth save.

Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was in the right spot for a pair of key catches to boost the AL East leaders.

Ryon Healy hit an RBI double with two outs in the sixth that made it 1-all and took third on the throw home. Trevor Plouffe then lofted a fly to shallow right that Castro chased back from his second base spot - the ball popped out of his glove, right into Judge's.

"What are you going to do," Melvin said.

The 6-foot-7 Judge collided with beefy first baseman Chris Carter while swooping in to grab Chad Pinder's foul fly leading off the seventh. Judge's sunglasses went flying and Carter went down, but everyone was OK.

The Yankees scored in the first on a walk, a hit batter and Castro's sacrifice fly.

Josh Phegley homered off Sabathia in the seventh, pulling the A's to 3-2.

LOOK OUT!

Sanchez lost control of his bat and it helicoptered a long way, far beyond the Athletics' third base dugout. No fans were hurt. On Wednesday, a boy was hit by Carter's broken bat at the ballpark.

HOME, AT LAST

The previous eight games between the A's and Yankees had been won by the road team. Starting last year, each club had won four times at other's park.

BYE

Lowrie was ejected by plate umpire Will Little in the eighth after being called out on strikes for the third time. The A's second baseman had been on a 16-for-29 streak before going 0 for 4. Melvin was tossed after arguing after Plouffe fanned.

"A lot of frustration," Melvin said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso missed his third straight start because of a sore right wrist. Melvin said he hoped Alonso could play Sunday.

Yankees: Closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) made 25 throws from 60 feet, his first baseball activity in two weeks. He said he felt fine after the workout and that he will throw again Sunday.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Andrew Triggs (5-3, 2.77) is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in four May starts after going 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA in five April starts.

Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (5-2, 3.35) has given up no more than three earned runs in his last eight starts.

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.