Oakland Athletics

A's Maxwell becomes first MLB player to kneel during anthem

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A's Maxwell becomes first MLB player to kneel during anthem

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first major league baseball player to kneel during the national anthem Saturday, pulling the sport into a polarizing protest movement that has been criticized harshly by President Donald Trump.

Before a home game against the Texas Rangers, Maxwell dropped to a knee just outside Oakland's dugout, adopting a protest started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in response to police treatment of blacks. The 26-year-old rookie catcher pressed his right hand against his heart, and teammates stood in a line next to him. Teammate Mark Canha, who is white, put his right hand on one of Maxwell's shoulders, and the two hugged after the anthem finished.

"Everybody watches sports and so everybody loves sports, so I felt this was the right thing for me to do personally," Maxwell said.

Maxwell's protest comes after Trump blasted football players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two-day rant that targeted top professional athletes.

"That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for," Trump said of kneeling through the anthem. He added, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, `Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired."

Maxwell informed A's manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Forst of his intention to kneel before Saturday's game. He also held a team meeting in which he addressed questions from teammates. Maxwell did not play in Oakland's 1-0 win.

Canha approached Maxwell after the meeting to offer his support.

"I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that's going on in this country right now," Canha said. "I felt like every fiber in my being was telling me that he needed a brother today."

The Athletics released a statement on Twitter shortly after the anthem, saying they "respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression" and "pride ourselves on being inclusive."

The league also issued a statement: "Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together."

Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, while his father was stationed there in the Army, but he grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, which is where Trump made his statements at a rally Friday.

"The racism in the South is disgusting," Maxwell said. "It bothers me, and it hits home for me because that's where I'm from. The racism in the South is pretty aggressive, and I dealt with it all the way through my childhood, and my sister went through it. I feel that that's something that needs to be addressed and that needs to be changed."

League executives and star players alike condemned Trump's words on Saturday, and Maxwell predicted on Twitter that athletes would begin kneeling in other sports following "comments like that coming from our president."

A few hours later, he followed through.

"This now has gone from just a BlackLives Matter topic to just complete inequality of any man or woman that wants to stand for Their rights!" Maxwell wrote.

Maxwell is decidedly patriotic and comes from a military family. His agent, Matt Sosnick, told The Associated Press that "the Maxwells' love and appreciation for our country is indisputable."

"Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump's response to a number of professional athletes' totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

"Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion."

Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's

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Pomeranz, Benintendi lead Red Sox to 6-2 victory over A's

BOSTON -- Drew Pomeranz knew it was likely the last batter he'd face. He figured he had to make one of his best pitches.

Pomeranz threw six innings of one-run ball, finishing by striking out Matt Olson with the bases loaded, and Andrew Benintendi had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Thursday.

With two outs, a full count and the game tied at 1, Pomeranz got Olson swinging on a high, 92 mph fastball.

"In that big situation, making a big pitch is a huge deal when you can wiggle your way out of a jam," Pomeranz said. "He wasn't chasing the curveball. I got 3-2 on him and I gave all that I have left to make one good pitch and he swung. Luckily, he missed it and that's what I wanted."

The added reward was that his teammates took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the inning, setting him up for the win.

"Another quality start on his part," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "There was a number of big moments in this game and for Drew himself, probably the last pitch he threw today, the strikeout to Olson, that was going to be his last pitch of the day."

Pomeranz (16-5) allowed five hits, walking three and striking out five to raise his record to 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last six starts in Fenway Park. He also tied teammate Chris Sale and two others for the AL lead in victories.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Mitch Moreland added an RBI double for the Red Sox, who have won six of eight. Boston began the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees.

Ryon Healy hit a solo homer for the A's, who fell for just the second time in eight games. The loss assured Oakland (64-82) of a losing record for the third straight season.

"We had some opportunities, and we had a couple base running mistakes early in the game that cost us," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Benintendi doubled high off the Green Monster, chasing Daniel Gossett (4-9) and scoring Dustin Pedroia to make it 2-1 in the sixth.

Trailing 1-0, Boston tied it when Vazquez's drive completely left Fenway over the Monster seats leading off the fifth.

The A's had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning on Josh Phegley's sacrifice fly.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: OF Khris Davis left the team to be with his girlfriend for the expected birth of their first child.

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) was activated off the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined since July 28. Farrell said the plan is for him to work out of the bullpen. ... Farrell inserted 2B Pedroia into the DH spot to get him off his troublesome left knee that landed him on the DL for nearly two weeks last month and sat struggling regular DH Hanley Ramirez.

STREAK CONTINUES

Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 27 games against Oakland. During the streak, which started July 14, 2013, he's batting .421.

FIRST IMPRESSION

Gossett gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his first career Fenway start.

"It was awesome. Great environment, tons of people. Historic park," he said. "I got to be a part of something special. Not everybody can say that they pitched at Fenway. I got to sign the (Green) Monster, do everything. So that was special."

RUNNING MISTAKES

The A's had two runners cut down on the bases - Chad Pinder in the third and Mark Canha in the fifth - both on cutoff plays on balls hit to the outfield.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07 ERA) is set to make his first career start against Philadelphia on Friday when the A's face RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) and the Phillies.

Red Sox: LHP Sale (16-7, 2.76 ERA) is in line to start against Tampa Bay RHP Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.46) Friday when the Red Sox open their final road trip of the regular season. It's scheduled to be the Rays' first home game since Hurricane Irma hit the area last weekend.

Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

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Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

BOSTON -- Matt Olson hit a two-run homer, Jed Lowrie drove in two runs and the Oakland Athletics rebounded for a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox to win for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday night.

The loss sliced Boston's lead in the AL East to three games over the second-place New York Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 3-2.

Oakland, which owns the majors' worst road record (22-48), snapped an eight-game losing streak away from home. The A's had dropped their past seven at Fenway Park.

Dustin Pedroia had three singles for Boston to extend his hitting streak against the A's to 26 games. The Red Sox had won five of six.

Jharel Cotton (8-10) picked up the win, allowing three runs in five innings. He entered 1-7 with an 8.00 ERA in night games.

Five relievers held Boston scoreless the rest of the way.

Doug Fister (5-8) was tagged for six runs and six hits in four innings. He was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous four starts.

A night after getting routed 11-1 by the Red Sox, last-place Oakland built a 6-1 lead by scoring four in the first and two in the third.

Lowrie had an RBI triple and Khris Davis a run-scoring single in the first before Olson hit his homer into the A's bullpen.

Boston scored a run in the first on Mookie Betts' RBI grounder and one in the third on Andrew Benintendi's RBI double.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

A few fans seated above the Green Monster unfurled a sign denouncing racism during the fourth inning. The sign, draped over the middle of the 37-foot wall, had a black background with white letters that read: "Racism is as American as Baseball." It was up for about one batter and umpires asked that it be removed because it was in fair territory. There was a smattering of boos from the crowd as Red Sox security forced the fans to put away the sign and led them away from their seats. A team spokesman said four people were escorted from the ballpark and one of them said they were inspired by Black Lives Matter.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his second simulated game. "He's in the process of building up arm strength," manager John Farrell said. "I thought he threw with good velocity." Price, who has seldom spoken to the media while working his way back, said: "I don't know how many more times I have to do a live BP, but if I come tomorrow and feel fine, I don't know what else I have to do."

PAPI'S POSITION

The Red Sox announced they have reached a long-term agreement with retired slugger David Ortiz that "should link him with the organization forever."

Ortiz is expected to act as a mentor to current players, help recruit players, make appearances and help develop business for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.

"He got his long-term deal," Farrell joked before adding: "His place in this organization speaks for itself. I'm glad he's going to be here. I hope to be able to include him in some player aspects going forward."

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (4-8, 5.02 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (15-5, 3.35) is up for Boston. He's won eight of his last nine decisions.