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Will acquisition of Blanks cut into Moss’s playing time?

Brandon Moss has been playing almost daily; will that continue with acquisition of Kyle Blanks?

Brandon Moss has been playing almost daily; will that continue with acquisition of Kyle Blanks?

The A’s tried going to battle with two left-handed first basemen.

Now they are trying it with one left-hander and one right-hander.

Kyle Blanks joins the A’s Friday in Cleveland as the right-handed hitting first baseman, joining Brandon Moss, the lefty. Daric Barton, the other lefty at the season’s start, has been designated for assignment to make room for Blanks.

It never seemed to make much sense to outsiders to have both Moss and Barton on the roster at the same time unless one was going to be the DH and one was going to be the first basemen and both were going to play against both left-handed pitchers as well as right-handers.

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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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Moss goes where Pujols, Cabrera and Bautista don’t

What do Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista have in common?

Brandon Moss is about one month ahead of his 2013 RBI pace for A's.

Brandon Moss is about one month ahead of his 2013 RBI pace for A’s.

Probably many things. But for our purposes right here, they are American League All-Star sluggers who play every day and who have fewer RBIs than Brandon Moss, who can only count on playing when a right-handed pitcher faces the A’s.

The difference? Those three are right-handed and seldom get benched against right-handed starting pitchers. Moss is left-handed and it’s a coin flip if he’s going to start when the A’s face a left-handed starter like, say, Washington’s Gio Gonzalez, who faces the A’s on Sunday.

Moss came into the weekend with 28 RBIs in 134 plate trips, the AL’s fifth-best RBI total heading into Saturday. Bautista has 23 in 164 trips, Pujols 26 in 153 and Cabrera 25 in 133. Those three have not missed a game for their teams. Moss has played in 35 of the A’s 36 games, which seems to be in the same terrain, but he’s only started 29 of the 35.

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Cespedes’ opposite field homer on cold night impresses A’s

Yoenis Cespedes's opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Yoenis Cespedes’s opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Friday was probably not the night to try and hit home runs at the O.co Coliseum.

The A’s tried anyway. That’s what they do. And they succeeded three times.

And on a night when the wind was blowing and the cool air inhibited the free travel of spheroids, Oakland came away with three homers, enough to account for half the team’s offense in an 8-0 win over Washington.

John Jaso struck first with a solo shot in the second inning. Brandon Moss hit a two-run bomb off Doug Fister on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning. Yoenis Cespedes hit Fister’s next pitch out, giving the A’s back-to-back homers for the first time this year.

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A’s run differential is a breed apart in the American League

Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson at heart of A's run-producing machine.

Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson at heart of A’s run-producing machine.

After watching the A’s play four games against the Mariners early in the week, you might be stumped trying to come up with words of praise for the A’s hitters.

Oakland scored just 11 runs in four games, losing three of them. The pitching could have been better, too, the bullpen in particular, but it was easy to look at an offense that had trouble scoring runs.

The A’s did more damage against long-time nemesis Felix Hernandez (four runs) than against anyone else the Mariners put out there.

It wasn’t a great showing, but it’s best to have some perspective with such things. Teams don’t live in a bubble. The offense doesn’t exist in solitude. The case can easily be made that the A’s 8-0 win over a tough Washington Nationals team Friday smooths some of the rough spots out of the performance against Seattle.

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A’s finding less and less playing time for Daric Barton

Daric Baton has seen his playing time fall off in the last week.

Daric Baton has seen his playing time fall off in the last week.

Is this the beginning of the end for Daric Barton as a regular contributor to the A’s?

Sunday’s game marked the fifth day in succession when A’s manager Bob Melvin put out a lineup that didn’t have Barton’s name in it. On the 10-day road trip, Barton made only three starts at first base.

And if there was a game where Barton figured to play, this was the one. The Red Sox started John Lackey, against whom Barton has both experience (27 at-bats) and success (a .333 batting average). Three other members of the roster have better averages against Lackey, but no one has more hits (nine).

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Will ragged running game catch up to front-running A’s?

Tye Waller hasn't much liked what he's seen of the A's running the bases.

Tye Waller hasn’t much liked what he’s seen of the A’s running the bases.

To look at the A’s stolen base numbers – they had been successful on 19 of 21 steal tries entering Saturday – you’d think the Oakland running game is a fine-tuned machine.

It’s not. Stolen bases, while important, are only part of the base running package. And the rest of the package isn’t much to look at.

Twenty nine games in to the season, the A’s have made more than a half dozen outs running the bases. The latest came Friday when with men on first and second, Yoenis Cespedes hit a bullet to deep center. Josh Donaldson was already around second base when the ball was caught by Jackie Bradley Jr., and a great relay flip from Dustin Pedroia beat Donaldson back to first base.

“We keep doing it,’’ first base coach Tye Waller said Saturday. “We keep working on it, but we keep doing it.’’

Manager Bob Melvin talked to Donaldson about the play. The A’s were down 6-1 at the time en route to a 7-1 loss. It’s not like Donaldson was going to tie the game if he scored.

“We haven’t been very good base-running wise, no question,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “There is over-aggressiveness at times on our part, running with your head down. There is no reason to be aggressive in that situation. And he knows that, and it’s been addressed.’’

This road trip has seen the A’s running out of control at times. Monday in Arlington, Texas, Brandon Moss was picked off first base by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos in the third inning and Josh Reddick was doubled off first base in the eighth. Texas’ center fielder Leonys Martin made a terrific catch with the A’s up 4-0 and Reddick, running with the pitch, had insufficient time to retreat.

“That’s the kind of thing we’ve done too much of,’’ Waller said. “When the play is in front of you like that, you have to make sure the ball isn’t caught. We can’t be getting doubled off like that.

“We’re constantly talking about it, keeping them aware. We’re going to get better. We can’t keep making these kinds of mistakes. We’ve been winning despite it, but you can’t keep doing that over six months without it catching up to you.’’

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Moss’s Intentional Talk appearance fires up A’s (updated)

Brandon Moss likes to crowd the plate, one reason he was hit by a pitch four times in four games in Houston

Brandon Moss likes to crowd the plate, one reason he was hit by a pitch four times in four games in Houston

Brandon Moss’s appearance on MLB Networks’ Intentional Talk Monday afternoon was a major hit in the A’s clubhouse.

They loved the riffs he did on fellow Georgia native Josh Reddick, his talk about being scared of grizzlies and his singing and dancing (if you could call it that) to Merle Haggard.

Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1lriDaZ

He got Reddick’s attention, though. The right fielder tweeted (@joshreddick16) “I cannot wait to go back on IT and keep this war with Moss goin’. Make it happen.”

Moss isn’t on Twitter, but he’s sure to be back on IT after that performance.

Before the interview was show (on tape delay), Moss was talking up his series in Texas when he was hit four times by pitches in four games, including twice in the same inning Friday.

“Who else set two records?’’ Moss said. “I’m so pumped.’’

Moss became the only A’s player ever to be hit by pitches twice in the same inning, and his getting hit four times in the same series is the club record dating back to at least 1914.

Asked if he’d ever heard of Ron Hunt, Moss’s face went blank. He never heard of the second baseman, who played with the Mets, the Dodgers, the Giants, the Expos and the Cardinals. The one-time All-Star with the Mets – he was, in fact, the Mets’ first-ever All-Star – Hunt had six consecutive seasons being hit by 24 or more pitches, and in 1971, the year after the Giants shipped him to the Expos, Hunt set the big league record for being hit, ringing up 50 HPBs.

Moss, who has never been hit more than six times in a season but who has five now with five months of the season to go, doesn’t want to chase Hunt.

But he does crowd the plate much in the way Hunt did.

“I’m always going to be right on top of the plate,’’ he said.

His manager, Bob Melvin, couldn’t recall anyone getting closer to the plate than the left-handed Moss.

“I throw batting practice to him quite a bit,’’ Melvin said. “Sometimes he looks like a right-handed hitter, he so on the plate. So, yeah. He crowds the plate.’’

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Flopping Lowrie, Donaldson in order pays off for A’s

Jed Lowrie has been helping set the table for Josh Donaldson and A's offense.

Jed Lowrie has been helping set the table for Josh Donaldson and A’s offense.

The season began with Josh Donaldson batting second and Jed Lowrie batting third for the A’s.

The logic was sound. It lasted a week. Since the first homestand of the season, it’s been Lowrie second and Donaldson third, and the logic is sounder. And, it should be pointed out, more productive.

Manager Bob Melvin’s idea going in was that Donaldson, a more selective hitter, would be the ideal man to hit second behind Coco Crisp, taking more pitches and assuring Crisp would have more time to select the proper pitch with which to steal a base.

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