Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's 5-3 win over Blue Jays

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's 5-3 win over Blue Jays

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OAKLAND — The best game of Ryon Healy’s career stood for all of two days.

On Monday night, Healy outdid himself with another two-homer game to go along with a career-high five RBI as the A’s beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 in the opener of a three-game series at the Coliseum.

He also homered twice on Saturday, part of a 4-for-4 day that gives Monday’s performance a run for its money. But that’s irrelevant. Healy is on a tear, batting .333 (38-for-114) with 10 homers over his past 29 games.

In the third, he jumped on an 0-1 pitch from Jays starter J.A. Happ drilled a liner that reached the seats in left in a hurry for a three-run homer. He stepped to the plate again in the fourth and mashed a 2-2 pitch for a towering drive that reached the elevated seats in left-center.

As a team, the A’s have hit nine homers in the first four games of this six-game homestand. Fifty-three of their 86 homers have come at the Coliseum, and they lead the majors in home runs at home.

Healy continues to punish southpaws: Oakland’s DH came in hitting .383 against left-handed pitching, fifth best in the American League. After bopping both of his homers against Happ (0-4), he’s now 20-for-49 (.408) off lefties with five of his 13 homers.

Manaea makes it four in a row: Boosted by some early offense, A’s starter Sean Manaea (5-3) won his fourth consecutive start, going six innings and holding Toronto to two runs on four hits. It was Manaea’s 16th game in a row with five or fewer hits allowed and two or more innings pitched, matching the longest such streak by an American League pitcher since at least 1913. He struck out seven, walked three and continues to develop into the kind of dominant starter the A’s envisioned when they acquired him from Kansas City at the 2015 trade deadline.

Plouffe remains ice cold at the plate: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe made a couple of very nice defensive plays but went 0-for-3. That leaves him in an 0-for-25 dry spell and 4-for-43 beyond that. Plouffe did have some bad luck, hitting a laser to right field that was caught. He made two nice plays on line drives, including a lunging grab to rob Jose Bautista in the eighth, then made a nice backhanded stop in the ninth to get a force out at second.

Josh Donaldson was no Bringer of Pain: The former A’s All-Star doubled in his first at-bat to score the first run off Manaea, and he also walked in the third. But given a chance to spoil the A’s night, representing the tying run in the ninth, Donaldson went down swinging against Santiago Casilla, who notched his ninth save.

Rajai Davis endured one adventurous trip around the bases: The struggling veteran returned to the leadoff spot and went 0-for-3. He did walk in the fifth and stole second base despite being picked off by Happ. Happy tried to throw behind him at second, and the throw appeared to strike Davis around one of his kidneys. He was checked by trainers but stayed in the game.

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick clarifies 'meaningful' comments

Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick hasn't exactly warmed himself to his old fans this weekend.

On Friday, the Houston Astros outfielder tweeted his displeasure with the umpires overturning a close play at the plate, allowing the A's to tie (and eventually) win the game to move one game back in the AL West. What he said Friday, however, raised even more eyebrows.

Reddick was asked by a reporter afterwards what it was like being part of such an intense, back-and-forth game, and gave a response that Oakland fans were none too pleased with.

"It was fun," Reddick said Friday. "Playing some meaningful baseball in this ballpark doesn't come around a whole lot. As a guy who's been in it before in the past, it's a lot of fun when the fans do come out here. They really make a lot of noise and make it loud here, so it's a lot of fun to be a part of."

He clarified Saturday that his Astros had not played many meaningful baseball games at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, but the damage was done. The replies to the above tweet were a preview of what was to come, and Reddick drew boos from the crowd.

Reddick once again took to Twitter Saturday evening, hours after the A's moved into a tie for first place with the Astros in the AL West, and said his comments Friday were "taken out of context." 

"I never meant that 'meaningful' games were never played at Rickey Henderson Field," Reddick wrote. "I played for [five] years in a great organization where I played in a lot of memorable baseball games. [Three] of those years were playoff teams and VERY meaningful games ... I would NEVER bash Oakland or the fan base regardless of who I play for. That being said, I'm happy for all those guys in that clubhouse. It's good to see them winning and playing so well."

Reddick played 596 games in parts of five seasons in Oakland, by far his longest tenure with any big-league team. Since leaving Oakland in a 2016 trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Reddick is batting .326 with five doubles, two homers, and 14 RBI in 114 plate appearances against his old club. He won his first World Series last season with Houston. 

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley made just his 17th start of the season Saturday. Maybe he should play a little more. The A's improved to 15-2 in Phegley's starts this year.

The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBI. He also caught Trevor Cahill's seven-inning, one-hit gem. Jonathan Lucroy will obviously still be the A's everyday catcher, as he should be, but it's good to know that he can get a day off every once in awhile, and Phegley won't miss a beat.

--- Phegley, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty all recorded two doubles. The A's eight doubles tied the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Matt Chapman was the only A's starter who failed to reach base. That snapped his career-high 30-game on base streak, as well as his career-high 14-game hitting streak. Chapman is still slashing .276/.362/.500 for the season.

--- Oakland improved to 40-13 in its last 53 games, the best record in MLB during that stretch. The A's also clinched another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series.

--- The A's 74-49 record in their best after 123 games since 1992. It is tied for the fourth best record through 123 games in Oakland history.

--- Oakland remains the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 51-0. The A's are 60-0 when leading after eight.

--- The A's have won 19 of their last 23 games at home and are 37-24 at the Coliseum for the season.

--- During the game, the A's announced that they sent 23-year-old RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two prospects in the Mike Fiers trade. Blackwood was 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA and nine saves at Double-A Midland this season. He was ranked as the A's 30th best prospect by MLB.com.