Mark Canha

A's fans stay loud, proud during another heartbreaking wild-card loss

A's fans stay loud, proud during another heartbreaking wild-card loss

OAKLAND -- The fans were loud from start to finish. All wild-card game-record-breaking 54,005 of them.

Prior to the A's heartbreaking 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night, there was a fluster of media presence, including an accidental elevator share with Alex Rodriguez and watching ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" do interviews with A's third baseman Matt Chapman and manager Bob Melvin.

Not quite what we're acccustomed to during a mid-week game at the Coliseum, but we embraced it.

Fans in the left-field bleachers were punctual as usual, getting their banners ready to show off. That crew made noise to some of the A's players who were standing around in left, shagging batting-practice balls. They shouted Ryan Buchter's name until he reacted with a wave, then Jake Diekman's. And cheered after each response.

Fans in the right-field bleachers hosted "Workaholics'" star Blake Anderson, who wanted to bang on the drums for the crowd after an in-game interview.

The fans were loud when pitcher after pitcher went in to pick up starter Sean Manaea. They were loud when each double play was easily made by the Rays. They even were loud when A's slugger Mark Canha struck out.

And it didn't go unnoticed.

"They were great. They were positive and stayed with us the whole time," Canha told reporters after the game. "I think they were kind of waiting for a rally, just like we were. They kept having faith in us, even down four in the last couple innings there, probably cheering their hardest."

Melvin, ever the professional, tipped his cap to the unique Oakland fans.

"It's disappointing," he said of the loss in front of such a robust crowd.

The team always wants to play in front of a big crowd, and it was beyond that Wednesday at the Coliseum.

"They were engaged from the first pitch of the game, they were engaged from the anthem on, and it felt like we just couldn't give them enough to really get into it," Melvin said. "But every inning they were up, every inning they were waving their towels and so forth, and it's disappointing we couldn't put on a better show for them."

[RELATED: Oakland native MC Hammer gushes over A's before wild-card game]

"They came out for us."

They certainly did.

A's vs. Mariners lineups: Mark Canha, Khris Davis back in wild-card lock game

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A's vs. Mariners lineups: Mark Canha, Khris Davis back in wild-card lock game

Mark Canha and Khris Davis return to the lineup Friday night as the A's look to clinch a playoff berth for the second straight season.

Oakland needs either a win in Seattle or an Indians loss in Washington to lock up a spot in the AL Wild Card Game. The A's also lead the Tampa Bay Rays by one game for the top wild-card position.

Canha will start in center field and bat fifth after missing Thursday's game with a left groin strain. Davis will serve as the DH and hit sixth. He missed two games with the stomach flu.

Right-hander Mike Fiers will take the hill for Oakland, seeking his 16th win of the season, which would be the most by an A's pitcher since Bartolo Colón won 18 games in 2013. Fiers, 34, is 15-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts. In 11 career outings against the Mariners, he is 3-2 with a 6.15 ERA.

Seattle will counter with left-hander Justus Sheffield. The 23-year-old is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA in seven games this season, including six starts. This will be his first time facing the A's.

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Mariners game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 7:10.

Oakland A's (96-63)
SS Marcus Semien
RF Ramón Laureano
3B Matt Chapman
1B Matt Olson
CF Mark Canha
DH Khris Davis
LF Chad Pinder
2B Sheldon Neuse
C Josh Phegley

RHP Mike Fiers (15-4, 3.91 ERA)

Seattle Mariners (66-93)
LF Shed Long
SS J.P. Crawford
1B Austin Nola 
3B Kyle Seager
RF Kyle Lewis
DH Daniel Vogelbach
C Tom Murphy
2B Donnie Walton
CF Dylan Moore

LHP Justus Sheffield (0-1, 6.10 ERA)

A's catch break with Mark Canha's injury, activate Stephen Piscotty

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A's catch break with Mark Canha's injury, activate Stephen Piscotty

The A's appear to have caught a break after outfielder Mark Canha left Wednesday's game with a left groin strain.

Canha told reporters in Seattle that he felt much better on Thursday and could even be available off the bench against the Mariners.

That is good news for an A's team that has relied heavily on Canha's tremendous performance this season, both offensively and defensively. The 30-year-old is slashing .275/.399/.524 with a career-high 26 home runs and 58 RBI.

"(He's feeling) better," Oakland manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "Whenever you have to come off the field and you hear about a groin strain, your mind goes to a bad place. But he's feeling better today. It could be a day-to-day proposition."

Meanwhile, the A's activated right fielder Stephen Piscotty from the 10-day injured list prior to Thursday night's game in Seattle. The 28-year-old has missed the last 29 games with a sprained right ankle but will be active for the final series of the regular season.

Piscotty is slashing .252/.312/.416 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 92 games this season. Last year, he notched a career-high 27 homers and 88 RBI.

[RELATED: How Chapman saved A's season]

If both Canha and Piscotty can return to the lineup, they would likely join Ramón Laureano to form the A's starting outfield, with Seth Brown, Robbie Grossman, and Chad Pinder also potentially getting some playing time in certain situations.