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Anderson pitches A's past Tigers to avoid sweep

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Anderson pitches A's past Tigers to avoid sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Coco Crisp saved a likely home run, and Oakland's season for at least one more game.

If the center fielder had any lingering frustration about that two-run error that dearly cost Oakland in Game 2, this might have erased it.

Crisp made a spectacular leaping catch at the top of the center-field wall to rob Prince Fielder, and that was just one in a handful of defensive gems by the Athletics to back Brett Anderson in a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

The A's cut their deficit in the best-of-five AL division series to 2-1.

Anderson outdueled fellow postseason first-timer Anibal Sanchez and the upstart A's showed off stellar defense all over the diamond to avoid another playoff sweep by Detroit.

``Robbed home runs are good,'' Anderson posted on Twitter late Tuesday.

``You see him hit it and you just kind of put your head down a little bit because you think you just gave up a homer,'' Anderson said. ``Then you see him plow through there and catch the ball and it kind of kick starts you to go out there and make pitches.''

Yoenis Cespedes hit an RBI single in the first inning and Seth Smith homered in the fifth. That was plenty on a night Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and the Tigers' high-priced offense were shut down by the low-budget A's.

Tigers 16-game winner Max Scherzer will try to close out the series in Game 4 Wednesday night against A's rookie A.J. Griffin. Detroit swept the A's in the 2006 AL championship series.

Fielder was the biggest victim of Oakland's spot-on defense, robbed three times. First by Crisp, Oakland's most experienced player whose blunder on Cabrera's fly allowed two runs to score in a 5-4 loss Sunday in Detroit.

``Not to be all over-confident or anything, I think I'm going to catch everything out there,'' Crisp said. ``Obviously it doesn't happen that way - duh Detroit, right?''

Crisp let out a big ``Whoo!'' after raising his arm to signal he'd made the grab.

``I thought I had a hit,'' Fielder offered afterward.

``Coco's catch, the ball was out of the ballpark and it came back,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``The key to that play was he was playing deep and that enabled him to get into a spot to get up and make the catch. And it was a great catch, no doubt about it.''

A's shortstop Stephen Drew made a tough play running to his left to stop Fielder's grounder in the fourth and then threw to first while still off balance and in motion.

Then, in the seventh, Cespedes cut over to make a diving catch on Fielder's liner to left field.

That delighted the yellow towel-waving sellout crowd of 37,090 in this blue-collar city.

``It's frustrating. But it's a good team you're playing,'' Fielder said. ``They're going to make those plays, that's why they're here.''

After Cabrera singled with one out in the ninth, Fielder grounded into a game-ending double play. Fielder is now batting .172 (11 for 64) in his postseason career - .083 (1 for 12) this year.

The A's own the lowest payroll in baseball at $59.5 million. Fielder is getting big money in Motown: $214 million over nine years.

Anderson, back on the mound for the first time since straining a muscle in his right side Sept. 19 at Detroit, worked quickly and showed no signs of a layoff or jitters in his first postseason start.

That's just not the way the A's have operated this year.

Last week, Oakland entered its final three-game series of the regular season needing to sweep the two-time reigning AL champion Rangers to capture the AL West - and the A's did it, sending a stunned Texas team to the one-game wild card, which it lost to Baltimore.

A club with a majors-best 14 walkoff wins and countless whipped cream pie celebrations snapped the longest postseason skid in franchise history at six games, all losses to Detroit.

The Tigers are trying to reach a second straight AL championship series after losing last year's ALCS in six games to the Rangers.

Detroit captured the AL Central in Oakland last year and is hoping for another clinching party as soon as possible.

Anderson did his job to delay it.

He insisted he was healthy and ready to go - and manager Bob Melvin took his pitcher at his word and gave him a shot in his biggest start yet. Anderson had shown plenty when he returned in August following a 14-month absence recovering from elbow-ligament replacement surgery and made six impressive starts.

Not feeling quite 100 percent, he allowed two hits, struck out six and walked two in six innings. He was on a pitch count of 80 and was done at exactly that, though was never told about it beforehand.

``I don't know how you could expect more than we got out of him tonight,'' Melvin said.

Next, the reliable bullpen took over.

Ryan Cook pitched the seventh, Sean Doolittle struck out the side in order in the eighth and closer Grant Balfour finished the four-hitter for a save. The A's staff pitched the 11th postseason shutout by the franchise, while the Tigers were blanked for the 13th time in the postseason.

The A's had lost five straight while facing elimination in the postseason, one shy of the longest active streak by the Twins.

But this group has defied expectations ever since the first full workout at spring training back in February when the A's lost third baseman Scott Sizemore to a season-ending knee injury. Opening day starter Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the head Sept. 5 and needed brain surgery. Starter Bartolo Colon was suspended for 50 games in August for a positive testosterone test.

Oakland became the first team in major league history to win the division or pennant after trailing by five or more games with fewer than 10 to go. The A's were five back of the Rangers with nine left, then won their final six, all at home with sweeps of Seattle and Texas.

Smith hit a towering drive to the deepest part of center field in the fifth for yet another timely home run for the A's, whose 112 homers after the All-Star break led the majors.

``That's how you win postseason baseball games, with pitching and defense and timely hitting,'' Smith said. ``We had that. We got two runs and that's all we needed. Anderson was great and our defense was, too.''

Sanchez gave up five hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked two.

NOTES: Smith hit his first postseason homer and third lifetime against Sanchez in 15 at-bats. ... At 24 years, 251 days, Anderson became the fifth-youngest pitcher in Oakland history to make his first career postseason start. ... Both Bay Area teams avoided elimination after the NL West champion San Francisco Giants won at Cincinnati earlier in the night. ... Oakland sold out for the eighth time this year and second straight - the regular-season finale vs. Texas drew 36,067 - including 1,000 standing-room only tickets and extra suite sales. It was the biggest crowd at the Coliseum since drawing 43,974 against the Yankees on Sept. 4, 2005, before the upper decks were tarped.

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.

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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you

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