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A’s: First steal for Vogt catches Tigers off guard.

Stephen Vogt finds there's a first time for everything, including stolen bases.

Stephen Vogt finds there’s a first time for everything, including stolen bases.

Stephen Vogt had played in 86 big league games without ever having stolen a base, so there was every expectation he’d make it 87 Monday.

He didn’t. On base in the fourth inning of a scoreless A’s-Tigers game with two out and Alberto Callaspo at the plate, Vogt took off.

The suitably surprised Tigers didn’t come close to denying him his first Major League steal.

“(First base coach) Tye Waller was telling me to look for an opening,’’ Vogt said. “The pitcher (Anibal Sanchez) was slow to the plate and everything was consistently high. I felt it was a good opportunity.’’

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A’s: Lowrie’s productivity parallels 2013, except for average

A's Jed Lowrie's runs, RBIs and doubles are close to 2013, even if his average is way, way down.

A’s Jed Lowrie’s runs, RBIs and doubles are close to 2013, even if his average is way, way down.

This has been a tough stretch for Jed Lowrie.

For the longest time his luck at the plate was so bad that manager Bob Melvin compared it to Josh Reddick’s, and Reddick is notorious for hitting balls well that wind up being caught.

Things may be starting to change for Lowrie, although he lost a single and a possible RBI when Austin Jackson made a tremendous diving catch against Lowrie in the fourth inning of Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers.

Lowrie caught a bit of a break when a soft two-out flare to left field fell in for him to bring in the A’s first runs in the sixth.

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A’s: Jim Johnson has teammates’ respect in marathon win

Jim Johnson helped get the A's a win in 14 innings, even if he couldn't finish.

Jim Johnson helped get the A’s a win in 14 innings, even if he couldn’t finish.

There is no question that Jim Johnson hasn’t gotten much love in his first three months with the A’s.

Except from his teammates. They know what it’s like to struggle. They’ve all been there, and there hasn’t been any thought that Johnson hasn’t been doing everything he can to fight his way out of his struggles.

And the 2.1 innings of scoreless relief he threw Saturday was especially well thought of by the A’s.

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A’s: Latest trend in clubhouse: Going to the jungle

I went to the jungle Friday.

I had no idea of what was going on when I walked into the A’s clubhouse shortly after it opened at 3:30 p.m. ET and heard multiple players yelling “I went to the jungle!’’

The phrase was new to me in a baseball sense, well in most any sense, really, so I asked the nearest player I could find, infielder Nick Punto, what was going on.

He said he wouldn’t let me write about it unless I did it. That’s a challenge writers can get from the players in a baseball clubhouse from time to time. I pursued it.

It seems that on Wednesday in New York, leadoff man Coco Crisp brought a small vial of hot sauce. A few of the players rubbed some on their gums before the A’s-Mets game. Second baseman Eric Sogard was one of the first, and when some of the stragglers came over to join in, Sogard coined a phrase.

“I told them, `Welcome to the jungle.’ ’’ Sogard said.

It caught on. Immediately the practice became “Going to the jungle.’’

The A’s then went out and scored six runs in the first two innings. In baseball, everything that happens has a certain level of causality, so the hot sauce was back Friday.

The challenge, Punto said, was to put a dollop on the tip of my index finger, then rub it over my gums.

Me, I’m just dumb enough to do that. Punto said later he didn’t think I would. He was wrong.

Let me say here and now that there was some pain involved. Not an unbearable amount, but it’s safe to say the practice isn’t for everyone.

Crisp wasn’t around to see me do it, but word got out quickly. A fist-bump ensued.

He explained that he has three small bottles of intense hot sauce. This was the mild one. It registers, he said at 300,000 on the Scoville Chile Flame Scale. Your average Jalapeno comes in at about 2,500-5000. A sweet bell pepper goes at 0-100. So 300,000 is way, way over what most people are used to. These intense sauces are mostly used in small amounts to

Crisp’s other two are Scoville listed at 5 million and 9 million.

I don’t think I’ll be trying those.

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A’s: Doolittle’s numbers say it all; he should be an All-Star

A's closer Sean Doolittle is on a roll that should land him in the All-Star Game.

A’s closer Sean Doolittle is on a roll that should land him in the All-Star Game.

At his current rate of production, there doesn’t seem much that A’s closer Sean Doolittle can’t do.

If you’d like to do something Doolittle can’t or won’t do, just dwell on his statistics for a bit.

–He’s 11-for-12 in save opportunities.

–He has not allowed a run in his last 23 games, a total of 25.1 innings. It’s the longest active streak in the American League and fourth-best streak in A’s history.

–He’s walked 1 and struck out 53. No pitcher since 1900 had struck out 45 before issuing a second walk.

–He’s faced 64 batters since May 60 and has retired 60 of them, allowing three hits and one walk.

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A’s bullpen brings Star Wars Darth Vadar’s helmet into fold

Will the force be with the A's bullpen and it's Darth Vader helmet?

Will the force be with the A’s bullpen and it’s Darth Vader helmet?

If the A’s bullpen was looking for an identity, it may have found it with a little help from George Lucas, Darth Vader and Co.

Sitting in the clubhouse Tuesday was a full-sized green-and-gold helmet worn by villain deluxe Vader in the Star Wars franchise.

Speaking for the bullpen, A’s closer Sean Doolittle said “it’s going with us everywhere.’’

The helmet originally caught the eye of reliever Evan Scribner in spring training who saw an A’s fan carrying it. Scribner asked what it would take to get one, and eventually he and the fan worked out a deal.

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A’s: Cespedes fills in, nails Crisp with pie in face

The As pride themselves on their versatility and depth. 

Yoenis Cespedes is all smiles after delivery celebratory pie to Coco Crisp Saturday

Yoenis Cespedes is all smiles after delivering celebratory pie to Coco Crisp Saturday

It has seldom been tested more than after Coco Crisp’s game-winning single to beat the Red Sox 2-1 in 10 innings Saturday.

The Oakland tradition after a walkoff it is a ceremonial whipped cream pie in the face during the post-game television interview. It’s been going on for a few years now, with right fielder Josh Reddick doing the honors for the most part.

If Reddick is unavailable, or if he’s the man who’s delivered the game-winner, then Crisp takes over. On Saturday, Reddick was off on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Sacramento. And Crisp delivered the hit.

So there was a void.

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A’s: Norris injury appears minor, but he may need some time

Derek Norris may need a day or two off after getting winged by a foul tip Friday, but X-rays revealed no break.

Derek Norris may need a day or two off after getting winged by a foul tip Friday, but X-rays revealed no break.

Friday evening produced a win for the A’s, but they also seem to have dodged a bullet regarding catcher Derek Norris.

He’s been hit repeatedly by bats on backswings this month and has been able to soldier through.

He was winged by a foul tip in the sixth inning. Manager Bob Melvin and the training staff checked him out, but Norris convinced them he was good to go. However when the seventh inning began, Norris had been replaced by Stephen Vogt.

“I didn’t want to come out; I never want to come out,’’ Norris said. “But when I came back to the dugout, it really tightened up on me. And it got to the point where I didn’t want to risk me messing up.

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A’s three-headed catching corps continues to dominate

Derek Norris has been a major part of A's three-headed catching corps.

Derek Norris has been a major part of A’s three-headed catching corps.

The only way for the A’s to get more out of their catchers than they do is to play them all at the same time.

So that’s what they’re doing.

By the time Tuesday night was over, A’s catchers John Jaso, Stephen Vogt and Derek Norris combined to go 7-for-8 with two doubles, a homer and seven RBIs in the A’s 10-6 win over the Rangers.

It’s been like that a lot for the A’s, who have seen all three catchers come on strong lately.

Vogt had three singles and two RBIs, is hitting .359 for the year and has a six-game hitting streak going.

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A’s: Is Yu Darvish coming to terms with Oakland troubles?

A's first baseman Brandon Moss has four career homers off Rangers' Yu Darvish.

A’s first baseman Brandon Moss has four career homers off Rangers’ Yu Darvish.

If you are planning to watch the A’s take on Yu Darvish and the Rangers tonight in the Coliseum or on the tube, Darvish would like to plant a seed in your mind.

It’s this – he knows the A’s have his number.

Darvish is 1-7 with a 4.73 ERA against the A’s. Against everybody else he’s 35-13 with a 2.93 ERA.

And he’s come to terms with it, after a fashion.

“Greg Maddux told me last year that he didn’t have any good numbers against Arizona through his career,’’ Darvish said in looking toward his third start of the season against Oakland. “Just the fact to know that a great pitcher like him had a team that didn’t have any good numbers against, that alleviated my thoughts.’’’

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