Dee Gordon's unlikely homer in extra innings ends A's four-game win streak


Dee Gordon's unlikely homer in extra innings ends A's four-game win streak


OAKLAND — Dee Gordon -- yes, Dee Gordon -- belted a 2-run home run off Yusmeiro Petit to break a scoreless tie in the 12th inning, as the Mariners snapped the A's four-game winning streak, 2-0. It was just Gordon's second home run of the season, and the 13th of his eight-year career.

The A's bats went quiet, mustering just six hits in 12 innings. Oakland fell to 72-49 on the season, 1 1/2 games behind first-place Houston, pending the result of Wednesday night's Astros-Rockies game. The A's still lead Seattle by 2 1/2 games for the second AL wild card spot.

James Pazos earned the win and improved to 3-1. Petit took the loss and fell to 5-3. Edwin Diaz picked up his MLB-leading 47th save.

Here's what else you need to know from Wednesday's loss ...

--- Brett Anderson tossed a masterful 7 2/3 innings, allowing just five hits and no walks, while striking out two. He recorded 16 ground ball outs and threw first pitch strikes to 21 of the 27 batters he faced. In his last three starts, Anderson has given up just two runs in 19 2/3 innings, for an ERA of 0.92. His season ERA is down to 3.90.

--- Mariners starter Mike Leake matched Anderson zero for zero. Leake pitched eight shutout innings, surrendering just two hits and a walk, with six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 3.90 for the season.

--- Matt Chapman extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the sixth inning. He is batting .340 (18-for-53) during the streak and has raised his season average to .279. Chapman has reached base safely in 29 straight games, the longest active streak in the American League.

--- Nick Martini had another impressive game in the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5. The 28-year-old rookie leads the Athletics with a .302 batting average and .416 on-base percentage.

A's 2019 projections: Frankie Montas, next reliable big league starter


A's 2019 projections: Frankie Montas, next reliable big league starter

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

At times last season, Frankie Montas looked like a top-flight big league starter.

In his five wins, the young right-hander recorded a sparkling 1.05 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. However, in his four losses, his ERA swelled to 6.33 with a WHIP of 2.06.

Overall last year, Montas went 5-4 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, compiling 43 strikeouts and 21 walks in 65 innings of work. His most impressive outing came July 9 in Houston, when he shut out the defending world champion Astros through six innings, allowing just three hits and two walks.

Montas, 25, will try to take another step forward in his development next season when he figures to begin the year in the A's starting rotation. The talent has always been there for Montas, who was ranked as the Dodgers' fourth-best prospect in 2015 by MLB Pipeline, ahead of players like Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler. His high-90s fastball and mid-80s slider form a terrific combination with which to attack hitters.

Baseball Reference projects Montas to go 5-4 next season with a 4.26 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. They predict him to pitch 74 innings with 66 strikeouts and 28 walks.

We expect Montas to go over 100 innings, if for no other reason than Oakland's lack of starting pitching depth. Montas will have a great opportunity to establish himself as a reliable big league starter.

The biggest key will be the first inning. Last year, Montas' first-inning ERA was 8.18, far higher than any other frame. If he can settle into his starts, his above-average stuff should take over.

[RELATED: A's top prospect could return as early as midseason]

We believe Montas will have a breakout season in 2019 with a major increase in his strikeout total, as he continues to learn how to utilize his dominant fastball and solid slider.

Projection: 10-6, 3.69 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 91 K, 36 BB, 108 IP

Three A's named to Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list


Three A's named to Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list

The A's won the early version of the Battle of the Bay, well, at least when it comes to prospects. While the Giants only had one player named to Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list on Wednesday, the A's had a trio recognized for their potential. 

Here's where all three prospects found themselves in the Top 100: 

Jesus Luzardo, LHP, No. 7 

When talking about the A's future, it all starts with Luzardo. And fans shouldn't have to wait long to see him in Oakland.

Luzardo, 21, was acquired by the A's from the Nationals at the 2017 MLB trade deadline, in a deal that also gave them All-Star closer Blake Treinen. Since then, he's looked like a star in the making. 

Between three levels, Luzardo went 10-5 with a 2.88 ERA and 129 strikeouts to 30 walks in 109.1 innings pitched in 2018. He's the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game, and the A's already expect him to be a big factor in the majors this upcoming season.

A.J. Puk, LHP, No. 18 

Puk, 23, missed all of the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery. He sustained the injury at the end of spring training where he had a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched at big league camp. 

When healthy, Puk can be lights out on the mound. The 6-foot-7 left-hander struck out 184 batters over 125 innings pitched in 2017, one year after the A's made them their top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. 

There's even better news than his prospect ranking, too. Puk is reportedly making "tremendous progress" in his rehab.

Sean Murphy, C, No. 72

Murphy, 24, could be the A's starting catcher as soon as this upcoming season. He hit .288 with eight home runs in 68 games at Double-A in 2018, but his real ticket is defense. 

Baseball America writes, "Murphy has Gold Glove potential." On the 20/80 scouting scale, they have his defense at 60 and arm at 70.

The A's only have Josh Phegley and Chris Hermann on their depth chart right now. A strong spring training and start to the season could get Murphy to Oakland in no time.