Athletics

A's notes: Melvin credits Overton's work ethic to get call

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A's notes: Melvin credits Overton's work ethic to get call

UPDATE (2:08 pm PDT on Saturday): The A's officially selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Dillon Overton from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. To make room on the roster, left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp was optioned to Nashville.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez was transferred to the 60-day DL.

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ANAHEIM — Dillon Overton tried to stay focused on his own pitching, but the lefty wasn’t naive to what was happening around him on Triple-A Nashville’s pitching staff.

First the A’s called top pitching prospect Sean Manaea up in April. By early June, Daniel Mengden was Oakland-bound. Overton knew his chance could be coming soon if he kept taking care of business on the mound.

He got the news of his promotion Thursday night, and by Friday afternoon he was taking the field at Angel Stadium in preparation of his first major league start Saturday.

“I was trying to throw well enough to where I was making the people in the front office think about it for a minute,” Overton said. “I’ve been blessed enough to throw good and they ended up giving me a call. … As soon as Mengden came up, I knew my shot would be next as long as I stayed consistent and threw well.”

[STIGLICH: Morning After: Overton will ride hot streak into his A's debut]

Overton had won seven starts in a row with Nashville before getting the call. He was 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA at Triple-A, but his story is as much about perseverance and hard work as it is numbers.

The A’s knew that Overton had some elbow issues when they drafted him in the second round in 2013 out of the University of Oklahoma. Just a month after he was drafted, Overton underwent Tommy John surgery. He didn’t take the mound again until June 2014, but less than three years out from his surgery, the 24-year-old native of Clinton, Oklahoma is in the big leagues.

“It’s a credit to him and how hard he’s worked,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. "He’s a pretty tough-minded kid who had a goal to get to the big leagues as soon as he could. You’re talking about a guy who was a second-round pick. Usually those guys out of college are semi-fast tracked to the big leagues, and for (a year) he was sidelined. But he didn’t get discouraged by it.”

Overton has yet to recover the velocity that once touched the mid-to-high 90’s. That pitch generally sits in the high 80’s and low 90’s now, but Overton possesses a very good curve and changeup, and this season he developed a cutter with help from A’s minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson and Nashville pitching coach Rick Rodriguez. Current A’s bullpen coach Scott Emerson has also worked with Overton in the past.

“I like to call it he’s got the ‘cherry branches,’” Emerson said. “He can move the ball this way, he can move the ball that way.”

Overton said when he told his parents, Pat and Lavon, about his promotion, his mother broke down and cried over the phone. He expects 28 people to attend Saturday’s game at Angel Stadium, including his wife, Morgan.

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Rich Hill came out of a 35-pitch bullpen session well and he’s on track to make his rehab start Monday for Stockton and possibly be activated after that.

A's get taste of playoff baseball with four-game fight with Twins

A's get taste of playoff baseball with four-game fight with Twins

As the calendar speeds toward August, the A's have their eyes set on playing more than one October baseball game this year.

With a roster that has minimal postseason baseball experience, any taste of playoff intensity can be beneficial for Bob Melvin's club, and Oakland got a little dose of it over the weekend in Minnesota.

The AL Central-leading Twins and A's dueled it out in a four-game slobber-knocker that concluded with Max Kepler's walk-off single Sunday afternoon, giving the Twins a 7-6 win and series split against the A's.

It was a series that had a serious playoff feel to it, with neither team refusing to give in.

On Saturday, the A's stunned the Twins on Khris Davis' two-out, two-run single in the top of the ninth, giving the A's a 5-4 win. The Twins returned the favor Sunday when Luis Arraez singled off All-Star closer Liam Hendriks and scored on a triple by Ehire Adrianza to tie the game at six. After Hendriks struck out Jason Castro for the second out, Kepler roped a single into left-center field and the party was on at Target Field.

The A's leave Minnesota at 57-43, one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild-card spot. The Twins currently lead the Cleveland Indians by three games in the AL Central and appear primed to make a return to October baseball.

An October return to Target Field certainly isn't out of the question for the A's, and this series helped give the A's another sense of what awaits them in the playoffs should they continue on their current trajectory. 

[RELATED: Optimistic Beane hopes A's are active at trade deadline]

Last season, the A's walked into the AL Wild Card Game against the New York Yankees and looked overwhelmed by the stage en route a season-ending 7-2 loss at Yankee Stadium. After getting a taste of playoff baseball last year, the A's are hoping to make a deeper October run this season. 

They got another taste of playoff-like intensity over the weekend against a team they could see in October, and it can only benefit them as the dog days of summer turn into tense fall nights.

A's vs. Twins lineups: Daniel Mengden gets ball in series finale

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USATSI

A's vs. Twins lineups: Daniel Mengden gets ball in series finale

The A's just keep on winning.

After dropping the series opener to the Twins on Thursday, the A's have responded with two straight wins in Minnesota, including a 5-4 win Saturday that was highlighted by a two-out, two-run single by Khris Davis in the ninth inning.

The A's now have won eight of their last nine games and will send right-hander Daniel Mengden to the mound for the series finale against the Twins on Sunday.  The Twins will counter with right-hander Michael Pineda.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Twins game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. PT, with first pitch at 11:10.

Oakland Athletics (57-42)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, RF
Ramon Laureano, CF
Khris Davis, DH
Robbie Grossman, LF
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Daniel Mengden, RHP (5-1, 4.21 ERA)

Minnesota Twins (59-38)
Max Kepler, CF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Nelson Cruz, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Miguel Sano, 3B
Marwin Gonzalez, RF
Luis Arraez, 2B
Ehire Adrianza, 1B
Jason Castro, CF

Michael Pineda, RHP (6-5, 4.38 ERA)