Rosales, A's turn back the clock with walk-off victory over Tigers

Rosales, A's turn back the clock with walk-off victory over Tigers

OAKLAND — The A’s had posted a dozen victories coming into the night, but the joy they experienced Saturday seemed like a fresh feeling for everyone in the clubhouse.

They pulled out one of those ninth-inning comebacks against Detroit that brought to mind so many games at the Coliseum during the division-winning seasons of 2012 and 2013.

Adam Rosales still had whipped cream residue around his ears as he addressed reporters, not long after his two-run single scored the tying and winning runs as Oakland pulled out a 6-5 victory over the Tigers.

“It’s almost like a relief to get that win,” Rosales said with a big grin. “We have a chance to win the series now and get over a little hump. It just feels good to win together as a team because we all fought until the end in that ballgame.”

The euphoric postgame scene was familiar: Players spilling out of the dugout to celebrate, Rosales getting slammed with a whipped cream pie and a bucket of water during his TV interview.

But the characters involved were different. In years past, Josh Reddick or Coco Crisp would have been the ringleaders of all the postgame shenanigans. Both are gone — Reddick dealt at last summer’s non-waiver trade deadline, Crisp shipped off a month later.

Stephen Vogt, a hold-over from happier years, delivered the pie to Rosales. But it was Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell — two players who could be future building blocks — who dumped the bucket. Tradition needs to be passed down on such occasions.

“I think we were a couple of the (last) ones in the dugout at the time,” Maxwell said. “Healy was like, ‘Hey, come help me with this cooler’ and I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I’m down.’”

It was an unlikely combination near the bottom of the batting order that ignited the winning rally. The bases were empty and the A’s were down to their last strike against veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez when Maxwell — who entered as a defensive replacement after Stephen Vogt had been pinch-hit for — battled back from an 0-2 count to work a walk to keep his team alive.

“Just trying to pass the baton to the next batter,” Maxwell said.

Then Matt Joyce, who brought a .185 batting average into the game but had made hard contact twice before the ninth, doubled to the right field corner to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

Rosales, who had never faced Rodriguez and was next up, was feverishly pumping Vogt and Khris Davis for a scouting report on the reliever.

“I knew he was gonna give me a fastball, but I didn’t know it was gonna be the first pitch, a pitch I could handle,” Rosales said.

A veteran who’s only starting regularly because of shortstop Marcus Semien’s injury, Rosales smacked a first-pitch fastball into left for the game winner.

The A’s first walk-off win of the year gave reliever Frankie Montas, who hit 101 miles per hour on the stadium gun in the top of the ninth, his first major league victory. It also gave manager Bob Melvin a memorable win on the night he was honored with his own bobblehead as a fan giveaway.

“What a night,” Melvin said. “A lot of contributions, man. We used just about everybody we had tonight and I think it was big for Frankie Montas to go and put up a zero. Guys were telling him when he came in the dugout, ‘we’re gonna get you a win tonight.’ Everybody had a part in it.”


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.