Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways after Barreto's walk-off snaps A's skid

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways after Barreto's walk-off snaps A's skid

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OAKLAND — Franklin Barreto enjoyed quite a rebound game.

The A’s rookie infielder delivered his first career walk-off homer with one out in the ninth Tuesday and Oakland beat the Chicago White Sox 7-6 to snap a six-game losing streak.

Barreto worked the count to 3-2 and then hit a towering shot toward left off Tommy Kahnle. The ball barely cleared the left field wall, and then Barreto’s teammates stormed the field to greet him at home plate.

Adam Rosales administered the pie to the face as Barreto was conducting his postgame TV interview.

The A’s sixth walk-off victory was a see-saw ending that saw the Sox tie the game off closer Santiago Casilla in the top of the ninth. But the A’s pulled it out and put a halt to an eight-game home losing streak that matched their longest in 35 years.

Barreto came with just two hits in his previous 24 at-bats and no RBI and 13 strikeouts in his previous seven games.

Alonso has a big day: Lost in the hoopla of his first All-Star selection was that Yonder Alonso has been scuffling at the plate lately.

What a lift it was for the A’s to see their first baseman regain the power stroke that has marked his breakthrough 2017 season. Alonso went deep twice, his third multi-homer game of the season.

Leadoff man Matt Joyce also went deep as the A’s snapped out of a funk that had seen them score just 10 runs over their previous five games.

Homers hurting the rookie: A’s starter Daniel Gossett was in line for the victory until Chicago’s game-tying rally in the ninth. But the right-hander is having an issue keeping the ball in the ballpark. All five runs he allowed in five-plus innings came on two swings of the bat — a two-run homer by Cabrera in the third and a three-run shot by Jose Abreu in the fifth that briefly gave Chicago a 5-4 lead. Gossett has surrendered seven home runs through his first five major league starts (26 IP).

Casilla can’t hold lead: Melky Cabrera’s game-tying single in the ninth came on an 0-2 count in which Casilla, his one-time Giants teammate, hung a curve that caught too much plate. Rajai Davis made a strong throw from left field, but Tim Anderson slid in safely just ahead of the tag from Bruce Maxwell.

Barreto’s big day at plate: The rookie also had an RBI triple in the fourth, his first career three-bagger.

Healy’s condition improving: Designated hitter Ryon Healy was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game as he deals with upper back spasms. Manager Bob Melvin said before the game that he hoped Healy might be an option off the bench.

A's award-winning run this offseason 'really special' to organization

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USATSI

A's award-winning run this offseason 'really special' to organization

The hardware just keeps rolling in for the Oakland A's.

Just look at the list of awards the A's have claimed over the past two weeks:
• AL Manager of the Year -- Bob Melvin
• Sporting News AL Manager of the Year -- Melvin
• MLB Executive of the Year -- Billy Beane
• Two Gold Gloves -- Matt Chapman and Matt Olson (plus two more finalists in Jed Lowrie and Marcus Semien)
• AL Platinum Glove -- Chapman
• Wilson Defensive Player of the Year -- Chapman

"It's really special," A's general manager David Forst said. "Seeing the individual awards has been great. It means a lot to everybody in the organization."

That list doesn't even include Edwin Jackson, who was named a finalist for the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. The winner will be announced Monday.

The A's also were represented in the AL Cy Young Award and MVP voting -- Blake Treinen tied for sixth in the Cy Young race, and four A's finished in the top 20 of the MVP voting: Chapman (seventh), Khris Davis (eighth), Treinen (tied for 15th), and Jed Lowrie (tied for 20th).

"When it was announced on the network that Bob (Melvin) had won (AL Manager of the Year), you could hear the applause from all corners of our new office in Jack London Square," Forst said. "That was the case for both Gold Glove Awards, and really everything this offseason that has kind of energized the organization. It has been really special the last month."

Quite the momentum to take into an important offseason, as the A's search for starting pitching and other components that can help return them to the playoffs.

MLB rumors: A's, Yankees talked Sonny Gray deal, but no trade imminent

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AP

MLB rumors: A's, Yankees talked Sonny Gray deal, but no trade imminent

It could be Sonny again in Oakland, but there's reportedly still a long way to go. 

The A's reached out to the Yankees about acquiring right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray, "but there is no present momentum in talks," MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Friday. 

Last week, Fancred's Jon Heyman reported the A's were interested in re-acquiring Gray, who pitched in Oakland from 2013 to 2017 before being traded to New York. As Morosi noted, they've had no problem bringing back former pitchers, and there's good reason that a return to Oakland could bring the best out of Gray.

For one thing, he was a much better pitcher away from Yankee Stadium since the Bronx Bombers acquired him at the trade deadline in 2017. Gray went 6-7 with a 6.55 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 88.0 innings in the Bronx. By contrast, he was 9-9 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.18 WHIP on the road. In 386.0 innings at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with the A's, Gray was 25-20 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

Injuries to promising young starters such as Sean Manaea and A.J. Puk forced the A's to use a patchwork starting rotation down the stretch last season, and the team relied on a bullpenning strategy en route to its first playoff appearance in four years. As a result, A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane identified starting pitching as the team's top priority this offseason.

[ROSS: How Patrick Corbin's contract could affect A's starting pitching market]

[MORE: Did Nathan Eovaldi's playoff heroics put him out of A's price range?]

Re-acquiring Gray would maintain the approach that kept the rotation afloat last season but offer the A's much more upside than bringing back Cahill and Anderson. With the Yankees actively looking to trade Gray, it makes a lot of sense for both teams.

Based on Morosi's report, it sounds like they'll have to start picking up the phone, though.