Things got a little hairy at the end, but the Athletics defeated the Angels 5-3 last night at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland and now sit one game back in the American League West.
Sonny Gray had a chance to go the distance, but issued a one-out walk in the ninth before being pulled. He ended up allowing three runs over 8 1/3 innings of work, improving to 13-7 on the year. The game was actually tied through five innings before the A’s got two runs in the sixth on an RBI triple from Sam Fuld and a sacrifice fly from Andy Parrino. Stephen Vogt added a solo homer in the eighth for insurance. They almost needed every bit of it.
Sean Doolittle replaced Gray in the ninth before striking out Howie Kendrick, but then gave up back-to-back singles to Erick Aybar and David Freese to bring in a run. He then walked pinch-hitter Collin Cowgill to load the bases, but managed to strike out Chris Iannetta swinging to end the ballgame. No sweat.
The series will resume tonight with Jon Lester on the hill for Oakland and C.J. Wilson pitching for first-place Los Angeles. We could have a tie this time tomorrow morning.
Your Friday box scores:
Angels 3, Athletics 5
Orioles 1, Cubs 4
Astros 5, Indians 1
Giants 10, Nationals 3
White Sox 3, Yankees 4
Cardinals 4, Phillies 5
Rays 8, Blue Jays 0
Braves 3, Reds 1 (12 innings)
Mariners 5, Red Sox 3
Royals 6, Rangers 3
Marlins 13, Rockies 5
Pirates 8, Brewers 3
Royals 6, Rangers 3
Tigers 6, Twins 20
Padres 1, Diamondbacks 5
Mets 2, Dodgers 6
Tacoma Rainiers’ broadcaster Mike Curto reports that the White Sox have acquired veteran right-handed relievers Mark Lowe and Jean Machi from the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations. Neither team has officially confirmed the deal yet.
Lowe, 34, signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in late March. He pitched to a 6.23 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma and tacked on a 4.6 BB/9 and 8.5 SO/9 through 39 innings. He last appeared in the majors with the Tigers, and finished his run in 2016 with a 7.11 ERA through 49 1/3 innings before getting released by the club prior to the 2017 season.
Machi, 35, struggled to find a place in the Mariners’ bullpen this season. A nerve issue in his thumb derailed his efforts at the start of 2017, and he was outrighted to Triple-A after pitching to a 1.17 ERA through 7 2/3 innings in Seattle. In Tacoma, the right-hander’s numbers weren’t too shabby: he split his efforts between the rotation and bullpen and worked a collective 3.44 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 through 36 2/3 innings.
Lowe and Machi will help flesh out a White Sox bullpen that has been depleted by recent injuries and trades. They’re expected to report to Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte and could see time in the big leagues by the end of the season.
Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.
Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.
There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:
I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.
Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.