Athletics

Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Angels 5

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Pratt's Instant Replay: Athletics 6, Angels 5

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- The A's needed every last run they scored on Tuesday night to beat the Angels 6-5 and extend their road winning streak to 11 games. They are now 21 games over .500. At the PlateYoenis Cespedes snapped out of his 21-game homerless streak in the second inning. He drove his first home run since August 18 just to the left of the rock pile. The shot was his 17th of the season and gave the A's an early 1-0 lead. The A's display of power continued in the fourth inning when Brandon Moss absolutely obliterated a ball into the right field stands. Moss' go-ahead homer was his 18th of the year and his sixth in his last 12 starts. Moss has driven in 13 runs in his last 12 games. A's manager Bob Melvin said he wanted to play the hot hand with Moss and it is working. After Moss' homer Josh Donaldson and George Kottaras hit back-to-back singles. Stephen Drew then drove home Donaldson with a sacrifice fly to left field to give the A's a 4-2 lead. The A's were up one run in the ninth inning. In need of some insurance Cliff Pennington hit a two-out single. Coco Crisp followed with an RBI triple to right field that got misplayed by Torii Hunter, allowing Crisp to come around to score. The play gave the A's a 6-3 lead. Starting Pitching ReportDan Straily got into frequent jams. He escaped the first one in impressive fashion. With runners on the corners and no outs he got Albert Pujols to pop out and struck out both Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick. In the second inning he gave up a two-run homer to Vernon Wells on a first pitch fastball right down the middle. After the homer two more runners reached base but Straily got Pujols to foul out to end the inning. Pujols ended up going 0 for 3 against Straily. Straily allowed one base runner in each of the third and fourth innings. He retired seven batters in a row before giving up a solo home run to Torii Hunter in the seventh inning. Hunter's homer to left field made it a 4-3 game and chased Straily from the game.Straily put forth an admirable performance in his first start back in the big leagues. He went six and two-third innings, allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out eight batters. All of the runs he allowed scored via the long ball. Last time he faced the Angels he gave up four homers. This is an improvement. Trout went 3 for 4 against Straily. All three of his hits were singles. Bullpen ReportPat Neshek entered the game to face Pujols in the seventh inning. He did his part but Pujols reached on an error. Sean Doolittle entered the game next. He gloved a ball hit up the middle and threw to first to end the inning. He remained in the game and pitched a scoreless eighth inning as well. Balfour entered the game with a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. He walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up back to back RBI singles to Hunter and Pujols. He left the game with runners on the corners and no outs. Jerry Blevins entered the game in arguably the most pressure packed situation of his career. He struck out Kendrys Morales then got the game-ending double play. His heroic effort on this evening might be the be the biggest save of his life. In the FieldThe 2012 Reddick for Gold Glove campaign should be officially kicking off. With Pujols batting with runners on the corners and two outs in the second inning Reddick made a sliding catch in foul territory to take the bat out of Pujols' hands. Reddick had to range very far to make the grab. He was in a full sprint as he slid to make the snag. In the first inning Pujols also came up with runners on the corners. He hit a shallow fly ball to right field that Reddick caught cleanly. Trout, arguably the fastest runner in baseball, was on third base and he didn't even think to challenge Reddick's throwing arm. Drew made a nice play on a sharp ground ball hit by Pujols but bounced the throw to first and Moss couldn't come up with it. Drew was charged with the error on the play. Moss would probably say that was his own fault. Drew made amends in the eighth inning by making a spectacular diving stop and throw to second for the force out to end the inning. AttendanceThe Angels announced an attendance of 37,794. Rally Monkey ReenactmentsPsycho - The monkey pulled back the curtain in the famous shower scene. The monkey was also apparently discovered on Mars by the curiosity rover. A contestant on Price is Right (hosted by Bob Barker) won a monkey as well. Up NextA.J. Griffin (5-0. 2.21) takes the mound for the A's against Ervin Santana (8-11, 5.21 ERA). According to the fantastic A's game notes put together by Mike Selleck, Griffin is the only Major League pitcher since at least 1918 to allow three runs or fewer and walk two batters or fewer in each of his first 10 career starts.

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

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AP

New Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna takes jab at A's during media event

While expressing his happiness to be with his new team, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a swipe at the A’s during a media function in St. Louis on Sunday.

Ozuna’s name, you’ll remember, swirled in trade rumors earlier this offseason that he might be dealt from the Miami Marlins to Oakland. Instead, the two-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis, making him one of several big-name players Miami has shipped off as it looks to slash payroll.

While attending the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up event to preview this season, Ozuna was asked what it was like being dealt to a team that’s more focused on winning right away as opposed to the rebuilding Marlins.

“I feel happy about that,” Ozuna responded. “First thing when I heard they were trying to trade me to the Oakland A’s, I say … (long pause) Well, I say ‘God, please leave me over here.’ Then I heard they trade me to the Cardinals, I say ‘OK, thanks.’”

Ouch.

Well, it’s not the first time such an insult has been hurled the A’s way, whether directly or indirectly. Last winter, it came out that Matt Holliday — who spent part of 2009 with Oakland — had a no-trade clause included in his contract with the Yankees that prohibited him from being traded only to the A’s.

Is it surprising to hear Ozuna volunteer his thoughts about the A’s in a public forum? Perhaps.

Is it a shock that he’d feel that way in the first place? Definitely not.

It’s no secret the A’s reputation is one of a team that’s always looking to trade its best veteran players rather than spend the money to sign them long term. It’s also common knowledge that they play in an outdated ballpark that’s considered the worst in the majors.

No question, those are the dominant thoughts of players on the other 29 teams when they think of the A’s. And there’s no quick fix to that. National perception is tough to alter.

“Why doesn’t ownership just start spending more money on payroll?” you might ask. “That’s the best way to change perception.”

No arguments there, but we know from the past that isn’t going to happen. Clearly, majority owner John Fisher isn’t going to spend more freely on payroll — especially with the A’s being cut off from MLB’s revenue sharing system — unless he sees the potential for other forms of revenue to stream in.

It all points back to the critical need for the A’s to identify a ballpark site and begin construction on a new home. That will send a message around the majors that a plan is in motion, that better days are ahead.

Until then, the A’s can expect to absorb the occasional jab like that delivered by Ozuna. On the bright side for Oakland fans, they might have just identified Public Enemy No. 2, a player who can slot in right behind Holliday as their favorite opponent to vilify.

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

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USATSI

A's, Khris Davis avoid arbitration, but is this a long-term union?

The A’s took care of a big piece of business with their top run producer, signing slugger Khris Davis to a one-year contract Wednesday and avoiding arbitration.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the sides settled on a $10.5 million salary. That’s more than double the $5 million Davis made last season in his first trip through the arbitration process, but a huge raise was expected after Davis put up more monster numbers in his second year with Oakland.

His 43 home runs in 2017 ranked second in the American League and he was third in RBI with 110. Consider that Davis is the only major leaguer to crack the 40-homer mark in each of the past two seasons, and only Giancarlo Stanton has more total homers during that span (86 to Davis’ 85).

That obviously makes the 30-year-old Davis a valuable commodity.

“Back to back 40-homer years in this ballpark. You guys don’t talk about it enough,” A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said in October. “When we acquired him (in a trade from Milwaukee) we knew we got a guy with a lot of power. I think we were thinking a 30-homer guy. The fact he’s gone 40 back-to-back is pretty amazing. He fits in perfectly here. I think having that big bat that Khris brings helps guys like (Matt) Olson and (Matt) Chapman.”

So it’s clear the A’s value Davis, and that’s why he hasn’t been traded thus far, as many around the game speculated he might be this winter. But where do things go moving forward?

He’ll be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before he’s able to test free agency heading into the 2020 season. If you’re an A’s fan, you know where this is going. If July hits and the A’s are floundering in the standings, Davis no doubt will be a trade candidate. He’d have appeal as a proven slugger who would remain under team control for 2019.

But Davis is a rare breed. He loves playing in Oakland and doesn’t hide that fact. The pitcher-friendly Coliseum has done nothing to suppress his power. In fact, he’s thrived. His 26 home runs at the Coliseum in 2017 fell one short of Jason Giambi’s Oakland record for homers by a home player.

It would seem he’d be open to a long-term extension, and the sides reportedly have held past discussions about one. The A’s have designs on signing some of their younger core players to extensions. But you’d have to rank it as a surprise were they to actually complete an extension with Davis, given the money he would command.

More than likely, Beane and his staff will evaluate the team through the first half of the upcoming season, weigh the pros and cons of dealing him, and if he stays, enter through this arbitration process again next winter, knowing that he’ll command even more bucks on another one-year deal.

An ‘X’ factor is how Davis adjusts to his shift from left field to designated hitter. He told NBC Sports California in November that he prefers the outfield but will fill whatever role is best for the team.

The feeling here is that he’ll put up the same numbers that fans have grown accustomed to, and the ball will be in the A’s court as to how long he remains in green and gold.