Putting the `break’ in baseball’s All-Star break

So here we are at the All-Star Break.

We’ve all grown up taking the All-Star break as a given, just another part of the baseball landscape, a Tuesday game with off-days before and after that creates a before-and-after to the baseball season.

It turns out that it wasn’t a given.

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Aging Coliseum strikes again, hole in wall possibly costs Reddick, Hill, A’s reward of victory

The decaying Coliseum added another dubious chapter to its legacy Saturday night, costing Josh Reddick an RBI triple, Rich Hill a possible win in his mound return and the A’s very likely a victory.

With a crowd of 26,846 in the house awaiting a postgame pyrotechnics show, Oakland was burned by its own ballpark –a hole at the base of the right field wall in fair territory that short-circuited an A’s rally and ultimately led to a 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates victory in 10 innings.

With two outs in the fifth inning and Jed Lowrie on first base for the A’s, Reddick hammered a ball over the head off Pittsburgh right fielder Sean Rodriguez for what appeared would give the A’s the go-ahead run with the score tied 2-2. Lowrie steamed all the way around the bases to score, while Reddick scampered into third.

When Reddick turned around to look into right field, however, Rodriguez was holding both hands up – the ball had lodged in a small opening at the base of the fence and Reddick had somehow found the hole on the fly.

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Reborn offense puts a serious hurt on Giants for a second straight night while Madsen saves an aching pen

With Josh Reddick off the disabled list and back in his familiar third spot in the batting order Tuesday night, the A’s fielded their optimum offensive lineup for the first time in more than a month.

Even though Reddick didn’t have much to do with it, Oakland once again looked like a team that has rediscovered some serious potential at the bat rack. Even though the A’s saw their bullpen spring a leak for the second time in three days, the A’s rallied from a pair of three-run deficits for a wild 13-11 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.

Jake Smolinski’s three-run pinch-hit home run off veteran Giants reliever Javier Lopez in the eighth inning was the most dramatic blow that ultimately gave Oakland its fifth victory in six games, and a two-game mini-sweep at a park where they’d lost 13 of 16 coming into this year’s Bay Bridge clash. Now it’s over to the Coliseum for two more to see if they can inflict even more damage to the reeling Giants.
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Daniel Mengden dazzles Giants, may be here for long term

Daniel Mengden has done nothing but impress since he brought his wacky windup, high socks and handlebar mustache to Oakland, and the A’s finally rewarded him for all of his fine work on Monday night.

After scoring just four runs for him combined in his first three major-league starts – all losses Mengden didn’t really deserve — the A’s hammered the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija for five runs in the second inning, continued to add on in later frames and rolled to an 8-3 victory at AT&T Park.

Marcus Semien’s towering three-run homer to center field was the big blow in Oakland’s early outburst as the A’s continued to gather steam following an impressive four-game series in Anaheim, where they won three of four from the Los Angeles Angels and were a bullpen blowup from completing a sweep.
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Alcantara latest burst of versatility to join A’s

Arismendy Alcantara was called up by the A's for the first time Tuesday.

Arismendy Alcantara was called up by the A’s for the first time Tuesday.

The A’s took another dip into their minor league system Tuesday, calling up infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara from Triple-A Nashville to bring the club more versatility.

Originally signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, the 24-year-old Alcantara was picked up by the A’s about two weeks ago in a trade that sent Chris Coghlan to Chicago. He’s the current Pacific Coast League leader in steals, perfect on all 26 of his attempts.

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A’s cannot ‘solve’ Tim Lincecum, lose to Angels 7-1

Los Angeles Angels' Tim Lincecum pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, June 18, 2016. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

Tim Lincecum allows one run over six innings in his Angels debut on Saturday at the Coliseum. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — A’s manager Bob Melvin countered Tim Lincecum’s season debut with an assembly line of pitchers Saturday.

But, collectively, they were no match for the newest Angel.

Solo home runs by Mike Trout and Johnny Giavotella erased an A’s lead in the fourth inning, and the Angels erupted for five runs in the sixth on their way to a 7-1 victory before an announced crowd of 25,078 at the Coliseum.

Lincecum, who generated plenty of cheers from a mix of Angels and Giants fans, allowed one run and four hits over six innings in his first big league game not in orange and black.

“We couldn’t solve him,” Melvin said. “Give him credit.”

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A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman doesn’t get win, but goes season-best seven strong innings in 3-2 win over Angels

Kendall Graveman threw seven innings and gave up one run against the Angels.

Kendall Graveman threw seven innings and gave up one run against the Angels.

OAKLAND _ For a brief moment, A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman had a win he richly deserved Friday night. Then he didn’t.

As it turned out, the A’s got the win anyway, beating the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on a ninth-inning RBI single by Billy Burns, but Graveman ended up with a no decision after pitching his best game of the season before a fireworks night crowd of 24,591 at the Coliseum. Continue Reading