Athletics

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Donaldson's tarp catch

bradendonaldsonap.jpg
AP

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Donaldson's tarp catch

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live tonight at 3:30pm to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and Blue Jays conclude, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (Two-time winner -- Defeated Mark McGwire's walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 1988 World Series)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.

VS.

2. Josh Donaldson's catch on the tarp in 2013

(From Ben Ross)

On September 3, 2013, Josh Donaldson took on the tarp and won. The A's third baseman chased down a David Murphy pop up into foul territory and made an incredible diving catch over the tarp, holding up his glove the entire time to show the umpire he had the ball.

The play was so memorable, the A's made a bobblehead to commemorate it.

Donaldson became a fan favorite in Oakland, thanks in large part to fearless defensive plays like this one. He finished fourth in the American League MVP voting in 2013 and made his first All-Star Game in 2014. Incredibly, he has still never won a Gold Glove.

The A's traded Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2014 season for Kendall Graveman, Franklin Barreto, Brett Lawrie, and Sean Nolin. Donaldson won the American League MVP award in 2015.

VOTE HERE:

Ex-A's reliever Shawn Kelley has no hard feelings toward former team

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AP

Ex-A's reliever Shawn Kelley has no hard feelings toward former team

OAKLAND -- After Shawn Kelley's stellar stretch run with the A's last season, it seemed likely he would return to Oakland as a free agent.

The 34-year-old right-hander appeared in 19 games last August and September, registering a 2.16 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, with 18 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. But while there was initially mutual interest in a reunion, the A's decided to go in a different direction and Kelley signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

"We talked from the very end of (the season) about getting something done," Kelley told NBC Sports California. "I think when they got (Joakim) Soria and gave him that money (two years, $15 million), my agent called right away because we were kind of worried. We had been talking to (A's general manager David) Forst. Both sides were like, 'Yeah, let's get something done.' When Soria signed, we kind of saw the writing on the wall. And then (Forst) wished me luck in whatever decision I made. He said, 'We spent a little on a couple of guys and so we wish you the best and thanks for everything you did coming over, but we're out of money.'"

Kelley says he carries no hard feelings toward his former squad, as he understands the business side of baseball. He still has a great relationship with his old teammates and manager.

"I talked to all the guys when they came to Texas and I talked to them (Tuesday)," Kelley said. "I went over and gave BoMel a big hug and told him, 'Man, I'm sorry. I wanted to be here. It just didn't work out.' That's part of it. It wasn't for a lack of effort. There was obviously genuine interest from me and definitely some genuine interest from their side. Things just go different ways sometimes in free agency."

Kelley has carried last year's success into this season with the Rangers. He is already 3-0 with a save and a 1.80 ERA, as well as a 0.80 WHIP. He has notched nine strikeouts in 10 innings without issuing a single walk.

"It's been great," Kelley said. "It's a good group. It kind of reminds me of what we had over there last year (with the A's), as far as a good mix of young guys with some veterans, a lot of energy, and a lot of will to not give in and keep fighting. It's been a good experience."

Kelley is extremely thankful for the opportunity the A's gave him last season, especially after the Nationals let him go following his now infamous -- and probably overblown -- glove-slamming incident. He believes his time in Oakland rejuvenated his career.

[RELATED: Versatile Pinder forcing way into everyday starting role]

"I had fun when I went over there and saw a renewed energy and passion for just going out and having fun and enjoying it, and it not feeling like work every day," Kelley said. "It was a great experience. I loved it."

For now, Kelley is happy to be a Texas Ranger, although he doesn't rule out a return to Oakland down the road.

"Hey, you never know," he smiled. "One day, I may be back."

Chad Pinder making strong case to A's for everyday starting lineup

Chad Pinder making strong case to A's for everyday starting lineup

OAKLAND – Chad Pinder is making it extremely difficult for A's manager Bob Melvin to keep him out of the starting lineup.

The A's utility star continued his breakout season Wednesday, going 2-for-5 with the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, as Oakland completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 6-5 win.

"I'm just trying to stay short and put a good swing on a pitch that I can handle," Pinder said of his first career walk-off hit. "It was awesome. That was a big one for us, a three-game sweep, especially after taking three losses from the Blue Jays."

Pinder also got it done with his glove Wednesday, making a diving catch in left field to rob Shin-Soo Choo of a base hit in the fifth inning.

"He contributes," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Pinder. "If he has a slow offensive day, he contributes defensively. He gets big hits. He does timely things, as you saw again today. ... He's a smart player on top of everything."

Pinder is slashing .320/.342/.507 in 75 at-bats this season, with three home runs and 11 RBI. The 27-year-old started all three games this series against the Rangers -- two in left field and one at second base -- and proceeded to go 6-for-14 with three RBI and three runs scored.

"It's nice," Pinder said of his current hot streak. "When you're getting consistent at-bats, it gets you on a little bit of a roll. It's been good for me."

Pinder's .320 batting average leads the entire team and his .848 OPS ranks third, behind only Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien.

"The more he gets to play, the more he contributes," Melvin said. "You watch his day today, he didn't have great swings but he shoots a ball over there to right field with two strikes. In that at-bat, he's not trying to do too much.

"There are days that you feel really good about yourself and you feel kind of invincible. There are other days where maybe you're not feeling great and you do the best you can and identify how you're going to be pitched and not try to do too much. He's aware of all those things."

[RELATED: A's will get first look at phenom Vlad Jr. on Friday]

Pinder has already proven he can play just about any position on the diamond. Now he's proving he belongs in the starting lineup every game.