Athletics

Manaea pitches into the eighth, Lowrie drives in four as A's hold off Mariners

Manaea pitches into the eighth, Lowrie drives in four as A's hold off Mariners

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- With a 7-6 win over the Mariners Monday evening at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Athletics extended their lead in the wild-card race to 2.5 games over Seattle and moved to within just two games of the idle Houston Astros for the best record in the West. 

Jed Lowrie fueled the A’s offense, driving in the game’s first three runs and then added his fourth RBI of the game in the sixth with a double down the line. 

Matt Chapman put on a show with his glove, including a run saving diving stop in the hole in the fourth inning. He tied a team record for the second time this season with three doubles and also scored three runs batting in front of Lowrie in the two spot. 

Sean Manaea shut the Mariners down for much of the night, yielding just two run on five hits over 7.2 innings of work. With the win, Manaea improved to 11-8 on the season for Oakland and has now allowed three runs or fewer in 13 consecutive starts. 

The Athletics tagged Mariners starter, Marco Gonzales, for eight hits and four runs over five innings. Oakland jumped all over Casey Lawrence in the sixth, scoring three times in the frame and appeared to put the game out reach.  

Kyle Seager drove in the first run for Seattle with a single in the fourth that scored Mitch Haniger. The Mariners scored two runs in the eighth and then added three more in the ninth to cut the A’s lead to one. 

With Haniger at first, Blake Treinen struck out Cameron Maybin for the second out of the ninth. Jean Segura picked up an infield single to put the tying run at second, but the A’s closer sealed the deal by striking out Nelson Cruz to pick up his 31st save of the season. 

Oakland improved to a season-best 23 games over .500 with the victory and sit at 71-48 on the year. They have now won three straight and they are 37-12 over their last 49 games. 

Baby Steps
During his pregame meeting with the media, Bob Melvin updated the status of three of the A’s many injured pitchers sitting on the disabled list. Paul Blackburn, Andrew Triggs and Jharel Cotton have started throwing programs.

There is an outside chance that both Blackburn and Triggs can make it back to Oakland before the season ends. 

“We hold out hope for that,” Melvin said. “With September and extended rosters, I think there is the potential for that.”

Cotton underwent Tommy John surgery in March and is out for the season. Beginning a throwing program is a big step for the 26-year-old pitcher. 

“I think everything is on schedule, but I think for him it’s a big day because it’s a lot of hard work coming off of Tommy John, that’s a lot tough thing to rehab from,” Melvin said. “It can be a lonely existence when you’re doing that.”

What’s Next
Mike Fiers takes the bump for his second start as a member of the A’s staff Tuesday evening at 7:05. He lasted 5.1 innings in his first game for Oakland, giving up four hits and a run while striking out eight in the Athletics 3-2 win over Anaheim on last Wednesday. Fiers will faceoff against left hander veteran, James Paxton, who is 10-5 with 3.63 era for the Mariners this season.

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.