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Game 151 wrapup: Wolff says he’s not complaining about fans; Reddick likes his handiwork with pies; Rookie starter Gray comes up big against Trout

There is no timing quite like bad timing.

And so it was for A’s managing general partner Lew Wolff, who took to the pages of USA Today Tuesday to talk about the low turnstile count at the Oakland Coliseum on the same night the A’s surpassed last year’s attendance total of 1.665 million.

It was the fourth year running that the A’s had registered an increase in yearly attendance, and in the wake of a 2-1 walkoff win over the Angels, the A’s still have five home games left in which to build on that total.

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Game 145 wrapup: Reddick may be ready for a start; Gray has no problem sitting while A’s are scoring; Milone finally get an inning of work

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick may have played his way back into a start or two in the near future.

Talking before the game, manager Bob Melvin said he was finding it difficult to put Reddick, who hasn’t played in over two weeks thanks to a wrist injury, into the lineup. Brandon Moss and Daric Barton both are doing well in Reddick’s absence and the A’s were 11-4 since Reddick’s injury.

The A’s made it 12-4 Wednesday, but the scope of the win, 18-3, and the fact that the A’s scored early and often changed the dynamics for Reddick.

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A’s could help themselves by claiming Kubel

Jason Kubel, the kind of useful player that the A’s dote on, just became available when the Arizona Diamondbacks put him on the designated for assignment list before Tuesday’s game.

That means the Diamondbacks have 10 days to trade him, release him or, if he goes unclaimed on waivers, to sign him to a minor league contract.

It might well be worth the A’s effort to put in a claim on him. He’s a 31-year-old left-handed hitter with power, and with the A’s having lost one of their prime left-handed hitters, Josh Reddick, until probably the middle of September if not the remainder of the season, Kubel could fit right in.

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Game 124 wrapup: Moss recalls big Coliseum lie; Reddick won’t let throw absolve his earlier error

Brandon Moss had a big second half last year for the A’s, having hit 14 of his 21 homers from July on.

So he was a natural person for newly acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie to turn to this spring when Lowrie, who’d just been acquired by the A’s from Houston, wanted to know if everything he’d heard about the Coliseum being tough on hitters was true.

“I told him, `It’s not as bad as you’ve heard,’ ’’ Moss said Monday night, 45 minutes after his game-winning homer to dead center field gave the A’s a 2-1 win over Seattle. “If you hit the ball in the gap, it plays fair.’’

That was before the current weather patterns have turned the Coliseum into a graveyard for batting averages.

“Now I’m looking like the biggest liar ever,’’ Moss said, laughing.

He could afford to laugh because the A’s won for the fourth time in five games and, offensive problems notwithstanding, seem to be getting their groove together. But the troubles with the Coliseum are real.

Oakland is scoring half a run more per game on the road (4.69) than at home (4.11). Batting averages are depressed up and down the lineup. And, Moss said, Monday was an example of why that’s so.

“I know you look at the box score and we only got six hits,’’ he said. “But we were hitting the ball hard all night. We had line drives that were getting caught. There’s nothing you can do about that.

“The guy that’s affected the most this year is Jed. Guys like Red (Josh Reddick) and me, we only hit the ball in the gap on one side. Jed’s a switch-hitter. He’s hitting the gap on both sides. This place just plays so big at night.’’

Not big enough, however, to contain Moss’s game-winning blast.

“He’s one of those guys that when he squares it up, he can hit it out of any stadium,’’ manager Bob Melvin said.

 

–Long after the game was over, Reddick came by Moss’s locker and gave him a big hug and said “thanks for bailing me out.’’

Moss protested, pointing out that Reddick’s throw from right field to third base to cut down Kendrys Morales in the seventh inning had set the stage for the A’s to win.

Reddick dismissed that because it was his bobble of a Nick Franklin single to right-center that put Franklin at second base, from which spot he scored on Morales’ single.

“I know I should have been happy that I got Morales,’’ Reddick said. “But I can’t help being upset at the error. I just took my eye off the ball. If I don’t do that, the whole inning is different and they don’t score.’’

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Game 122 wrapup: A’s in better shape, but worse, too, with 40 games to play; Reddick’s cannon a thing of beauty; Sogard’s superior skill at shortstop

After 122 games last year, the A’s were five games behind Texas, so it’s clearly better that after 122 games this season Oakland trails the Rangers by just 1.5 games.

Right?

Well, maybe.

At this point last year, the A’s had clearly turned a corner. After a stretch of four losses in five games, the A’s had gone 5-1 in Games 117-122. They would only lose 12 of their final 40 games.

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Game 113 wrapup: Donaldson finds someone who can break the spell; Reddick’s frustrations continue; Gray seems likely pick to pitch Saturday

Josh Donaldson, perfectionist.

It’s not always an easy thing, but it’s probably a good thing as far as the A’s are concerned.

Donaldson had gone without a homer or an RBI since the playing of Major League baseball had resumed after the All-Star break.

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Game 98 wrapup: Sogard trying to make a case for staying the course; bunt, double steal open up offense a bit and Moss discovers left field

After spending two days generating virtually no offense, the A’s were in a whatever-it-takes mode Sunday against the Angels.

That included the second homer of the month from Eric Sogard, who’d come into July homerless in over a year. It included three hits to left field from dead pull hitter Brandon Moss. It included a double steal from Josh Reddick and Chris Young. And it included a sacrifice bunt from Coco Crisp that turned into a hit and more.

Sogard, who’d broken a drought with a homer in Kansas City on July 7, said he was trying to move Young from second to third by hitting behind him in the third inning. He did that, and more, elevating a pitch from Jerome Williams enough to settle it into the first few rows of the bleachers near the foul pole.

“I just wanted to hit behind the runner,’’ Sogard said. “We’d been having some trouble scoring runs. I got a fastball inside and I was able to get it up a little.’’

With the trade deadline coming up, there are suggestions that the A’s might look to upgrade at second base, a position currently shared by Sogard, the left-hander, and the right-handed Grant Green. Sogard would like to make a case for staying the course.

His homer, single and two runs scored will help, although he’s just 11-for-47 (.234) in his last 18 games. However, seven of the 11 hits are for extra bases – five doubles and two homers.

 

–In the fifth, Sogard opened with an infield single to shortstop. With third baseman Alberto Callaspo playing about even with the base, Crisp decided on his own to drop a bunt down.

He did that. Callaspo charged, fielded the ball and threw it where first baseman Mark Trumbo had no chance to catch it. Sogard scored and Crisp wound up at third, from where he would score on the second of three Moss singles.

“I wasn’t bunting for a hit,’’ Crisp said. “I mean I was, but I was more focused on getting the ball down and moving the runner over. That was the important part of getting the ball down.’’

Manager Bob Melvin called the bunt, and Callaspo’s throwing error that made it 3-0, “the key part of the game.’’

“It’s not usual that Coco will be up there where the third baseman isn’t in,’’ the manager said. “But he wasn’t as close, and Coco went out and made something happen.’’

 

–That same kind of thought process and effort was behind the double steal by Reddick and Young. The A’s had a four-run lead in the sixth before Reddick singled and Young walked on four pitches, forcing Williams out of the game in favor of Garrett Richards. Sogard struck out, then with Crisp at the plate, Reddick lit out for third and Young for second.

Catcher Chris Iannetta threw wildly past third, giving Reddick a chance to bounce up and race home. Young would score on another Angels’ throwing error later in the inning.

“When the opportunity is there, we’ll push it,’’ Melvin said. “When you’re not swinging great is a good time to push it.’’

 

–Moss hadn’t been swinging great, and he hadn’t been swinging pretty either, so he decided to do something about that Sunday.

“I’ve been in the cage a lot, and I’m still searching for it,’’ Moss said. “This morning I said to somebody I was just going to go up and try to swing pretty. At least that way I’ll look better up there. Maybe I won’t look silly.

“If I’m going to hit .230, I might as well look good doing it. I was just trying to take good, fluid swings and stayed through some balls instead of trying to do too much, trying to hit a home run on every pitch. I’m not trying to take away my power, but holy crap, at a certain point, you have to do something.’’

Moss said that he’d never had three opposite-field hits in a game and, together with a second-inning pop to shortstop, he’d never hit the ball to the left side four times “in a game in my life. Not ever.’’

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Game 87 wrapup: Reddick value is more than a bat

The A’s have gone a long way (51 wins) without a lot offensively from Josh Reddick this season, but now is as good a time as any to remember that Reddick is not a one-dimensional ballplayer.

He had two hits – and Oakland manager Bob Melvin would argue that he should have had a third – and a sacrifice fly in the A’s 6-3 win over Kansas City Friday. He scored three of the A’s six runs and drove in two others.

Still, that’s been the kind of game that’s been an anomaly for Reddick this season. What hasn’t been weird has been the rest of his game. He plays first-rate defense and on Friday he showed that he hasn’t lost his edge when running the bases.

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Game 67 wrapup: Doolittle getting closer to being himself again; Ichiro skillfully dekes Moss, Reddick; Straily using extra rope with skill

Two games doesn’t make for a big sample size, but the A’s are feeling better about Sean Doolittle all the time.

For the second time in as many games, Doolittle came out of the A’s bullpen against the Yankees and retired every batter he faced. On Tuesday it was three men. On Friday it was four, including striking out Chris Stewart of the Yankees to end the seventh inning both nights.

Doolittle is not far removed from a stretch of five games in which he’d allowed 10 runs to score. But he said he feels no lack of confidence.

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