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A’s: Rally Possum delivers as Norris hits walk-off single in 10th to beat Balfour, Rays

Derek Norris gets the pie and Gatorade treatment after his walk-off hit. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron).

Derek Norris gets the pie and Gatorade treatment after his walk-off hit. (Staff photo/D. Ross Cameron).

The A’s might have found themselves their new mascot — the Rally Possum.

Oakland ended a night of frustration with runners in scoring position when Derek Norris singled with the bases loaded in the 10th inning off former A’s closer Grant Balfour to beat the Rays 3-2.

Norris’ hit — the A’s first breakthrough of the night after stranding the bases loaded three previous times — came shortly after a possum appeared in the corner of the outfield.

Whether it remains as a good luck charm or not is to be seen, but for one night the A’s were happy to have it around. The win allowed Oakland to stay one game against of the Los Angeles Angels in first place in the American League West. Continue Reading

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A’s pregame notes: Gray wins pitcher of the month, Parker throws from 45 feet

Sonny Gray won the AL pitcher of the month award for the second time this year. (Staff photo/Dan Honda).

Sonny Gray won the AL pitcher of the month award for the second time this year. (Staff photo/Dan Honda).

A’s pitcher Sonny Gray collected his second American League pitcher of the month award Monday. He was honored after going 5-0 with a 1.03 earned run average in five July starts.

“I was excited to get it,” Gray said of the award. “But it was really nice to have a nice month, especially after struggling the month before a little bit. So it’s just really nice to get back on track.”

Gray is the first A’s pitcher since Barry Zito to win this award twice in one season. Zito was honored in August and September of 2001. No pitcher had won the award twice in an Oakland uniform at all since Mark Mulder (June 2002 and June 2004).

Gray rebounded in July after going 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in June. That was his worst month of the season, but it’s all relative for a pitcher who is now 12-4 with a 2.59 ERA in his first full season in the big leagues. Continue Reading

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A’s, Melvin enjoy impressing big crowds, even dogs

Josh Donaldson gave A's fans (human and canine) a reason to go home happy Friday night. (Staff photo/Jose Carlos Fajardo)

Josh Donaldson gave A’s fans (human and canine) a reason to go home happy Friday night. (Staff photo/Jose Carlos Fajardo)

Not much in the way of pregame news today from A’s manager Bob Melvin. Josh Reddick, who homered for the Stockton Ports last night, will play twice more with them and they’ll discuss the next move after Sunday’s game. Coco Crisp, bothered by a neck injury, will D.H. tonight. The neck figures to bother him for a little while. There’s still no timetable for Kyle Blanks, who has been able to do some running on the field.

Melvin did speak again about how much he enjoys his team putting on a show when the A’s do have a big crowd on hand. Last night, 27,232 were in the house and were rewarded with Josh Donaldson’s walk-off home run. With it being Bark at the Park night and dogs on hand, Melvin hopes to have snagged a few future customers.

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Doolittle’s at-bat is a “let down,” Norris says he feels fine but will adjust his positioning behind the plate

A's closer Sean Doolittle didn't pitch Sunday, but did get his first big league at bat. (Staff photo/Jane Tyska).

A’s closer Sean Doolittle didn’t pitch Sunday, but did get his first big league at bat. (Staff photo/Jane Tyska).

OK, that game was just plain weird. It had all the looks of a ho-hum loss most of the day. Tommy Milone’s struggles against the Boston Red Sox continues and Jon Lester was pitching a gem. The Red Sox were going to avoid the four-game sweep and the A’s would still be satisfied with taking three of four.

Then…all of a sudden the game is tied. The eighth-inning rally started so harmlessly with an HBP and then a walk. Then back-to-back-to-back singles suddenly made it a game. You can read the game story here, but this had so much more that I had to cut.

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Gray gets pushed back, Melvin wants to see Colon run and Coco sits on gnome day

Jimmy Durkin in for John Hickey on getaway day as the A’s try to complete the sweep of the Red Sox before heading to New York.

Sonny Gray will get pushed back four days and make his next start Saturday against the Miami Marlins.  (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

Sonny Gray will get pushed back four days and make his next start Saturday against the Miami Marlins. (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

The biggest news today is that the A’s will push Sonny Gray’s next start back four days to give their young ace some extra rest. Instead of starting Tuesday against the New York Mets, Gray will go Saturday against the Miami Marlins.

“Just giving Sonny a little bit of a break,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said in explaining the decision.

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A’s ignore clubhouse note and club Tigers 10-0

On Monday, the following was written on the white board next to where the A’s lineup is posted daily in their clubhouse.

Slow torture vs. Instant kill

Slow torture is a team approach.

Instant kill is an individual approach.

Home runs end rallies, not start them.

Keep pitchers in the stretch and trust your teammates.

Pass the torch if necessary….

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3-0, D-No powers A’s over Gio

Derek Norris blasted a pair of 3-0 count, three-run home runs off former A's All-Star Gio Gonzalez in Sunday's 9-1 win. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Derek Norris blasted a pair of 3-0 count, three-run home runs off former A’s All-Star Gio Gonzalez in Sunday’s 9-1 win. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet since we had a nice easy game and I’m going to try to get home in time to enjoy the rest of Mothers’ Day.

Most of the talk of the day can be found in the game story, which is posted here and should be updated shortly. This was all about Derek Norris’ domination of Gio Gonzalez, the player for which he was once traded.

That December 2011 deal in which the A’s sent away their All-Star Gonzalez netted Tommy Milone and Derek Norris along with Brad Peacock and A.J. Cole. Considering the events of this weekend, including Milone’s eight innings of shutout ball in a win Friday, that trade looks pretty good right now.

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Drew Pomeranz tentatively slated to start Game 2

pomeranzDrew Pomeranz is slated to start Game 2 of the A’s double header on Wednesday, provided that he’s not needed in relief in the first game.  If Pomeranz is called on in the twin bill opener, A’s manager Bob Melvin said rookie Arnold Leo will make his major league debut.

The A’s and Mariners are playing twice Wednesday as a makeup for the April 4 game that was cancelled due to poor field conditions when a bad weather report led to the grounds crew not placing the tarp on the infield.

Melvin said he expects to have all of his relievers available Wednesday, although “some guys who threw a little more may be targeted for the night game.”

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Game of inches goes against the A’s early in loss to Mariners

A's third baseman Josh Donaldson dives in vain for a line drive off the bat of Seattle Mariners' Michael Saunders. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson dives in vain for a line drive off the bat of Seattle Mariners’ Michael Saunders. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

The whole “baseball is a game of inches” is about as old a cliché as there is in baseball. There’s probably a good reason why.

In a matter of four batters on Monday night at the Coliseum, there were three plays that were decided by a few inches that dramatically altered the game. Michael Saunders led off with a sharp liner that deflected off the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson. Then Stefen Romero singled on a grounder that went off the glove of pitcher Scott Kazmir.

Two batters later, Corey Hart delivered a seeing-eyed single and the Mariners had a 1-0 lead. A second run scored on an RBI groundout, Seattle was up 2-0 early and those two runs were the difference in a 4-2 win.

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Cespedes, Reddick out of lineup as A’s return home

cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes has a pair of RBIs in the A’s 3-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday, but a hamstring injury will keep him from starting Monday’s game. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick are both out of the lineup as the A’s return home to face the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

Reddick sprained his left ankle trying to get out of the batters box when he hit into an inning-ending double play in the ninth inning of the A’s 3-2 win in 10 innings against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Monday’s game that Reddick won’t be available for “a day or two. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

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