As he loaded the contents of his locker into boxes Wednesday afternoon, right fielder Josh Reddick described the 2014 A’s as a team that “was built to go farther than we did,” and said of their 12-inning, 9-8 loss to the Kansas City Royals in the wild-card game the night before: “It still stinks.”

Brandon Crawford figured the San Francisco Giants needed one run, maybe two, the way ace Madison Bumgarner was dealing.

SAN FRANCISCO - Sergio Romo, the Giants' eccentric relief pitcher, got roped into catching the ceremonial first pitch before a home game in 2010. The team won that night, and the next, and Romo soon embraced the ritual as his own.

It had been 29 years since the Kansas City Royals had last been to the postseason — nearly three decades spent mostly in baseball's backwater, a small-market organization on a shoe-string budget trying in vain to compete with the big boys.

Edinson Volquez's renaissance began with a simple game of catch.

An attorney for Bryan Stow, the gravely injured Giants fan who won a multimillion-dollar damage suit against the Dodgers, has sued the team again, claiming it is trying to recoup $3.4 million in insurance payments from Stow for his medical care after a beating.

While the baseball playoffs in cities such as Baltimore, Anaheim, Washington and Los Angeles may seem like a second season, for the A’s and Giants, the postseason must feel like a second chance.

The Kansas City Royals made one of the boldest trades in franchise history two years ago. The Oakland Athletics made a similarly aggressive move just a couple of months ago.

The San Francisco Giants have proven themselves to be elimination experts.

After beating the Padres 9-3 to close the regular season Sunday, the Giants gathered on the infield to salute the fans at AT&T Park. Right fielder Hunter Pence took a microphone and, during a short speech, led the crowd in a stadium-wide rendition of the “Yes!” celebration the Giants employed in their dugout after home runs earlier this summer.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy admitted he thought twice before putting Buster Posey in the lineup for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres, after Posey had sat out the previous two games with back tightness.

The Cincinnati Reds just beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Sunday, meaning the Giants are headed to Pittsburgh for the wild-card game on Wednesday.

The Giants’ lineup today for their regular-season finale against the Padres features two players who appeared for them in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series. You can probably name Buster Posey off the top of your head.

Pittsburgh. St. Louis. Perhaps Washington, D.C., later in the week. When Jake Peavy took the mound Saturday against the San Diego Padres, the Giants were still debating their upcoming travel plans, guessing the identity of their opponent, but knowing they would be playing a wild-card game somewhere Wednesday.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy made out his starting lineup Saturday morning omitting one name for the first time in more than two years. With the Giants no longer playing for home-field advantage in the National League wild-card game, Bochy decided it was time – finally – to give Hunter Pence a day off.

SAN FRANCISCO -- With Giants manager Bruce Bochy resting many of his regulars in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the San Diego Padres, it provided the opportunity for a couple of career firsts. Outfielder Gary Brown picked up his first major-league hit on a bunt single in the third inning. And reliever Hunter Strickland recorded his first big-league win with a perfect eighth inning.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The majors’ longest current streak of consecutive games started is poised to end today at AT&T Park. Hunter Pence is not in the Giants’ lineup for the first time since the 2012 season, and when Jake Peavy throws his first pitch without Pence in right field, it will end Pence’s streak of 331 starts in a row.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost a game Friday night, 4-1 to the San Diego Padres, but did see next Wednesday’s wild-card scenario round further into shape. Because the Giants lost and the Pirates and Cardinals both won, it’s official the Giants will be on the road Wednesday -- though whether in St. Louis or Pittsburgh is still to be determined.

Andrew Susac had just finished his first season in the Giants’ organization when the big-league club made its 2012 World Series run that featured several inspirational pregame speeches from right fielder Hunter Pence.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants’ post-clinch-day lineup against the San Diego Padres tonight does not include Buster Posey, who came out of Thursday night’s game early with some back tightness.

Searching for a lost identity is hard enough. But searching for a lost identity while trying to survive in a profession devoid of mercy? Well, then you’re the A’s.

In the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday, A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson hit a fly ball to the warning track in right-center that the Angels’ Mike Trout dropped, giving the A’s a runner on third base with no outs. Donaldson did not score.

OAKLAND -- The announced crowd of 27,989 that came out for the final regular-season game at the O.co Coliseum on Wednesday saw the A’s mostly at their second-half worst.

OAKLAND -- The A’s play their final home game of the regular season today and then fly to Texas for their last series against the Rangers. When they’ll be back in Oakland is yet to be determined.

The San Francisco Giants are on the verge of reaching the postseason.

OAKLAND -- A’s outfielder Sam Fuld acknowledged that how the A’s 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels unfolded Tuesday night followed "one of the major themes of the last month and a half or so."

A’s manager Bob Melvin said it became apparent quickly Tuesday that right-hander Sonny Gray, starting for the playoff-chasing A’s against a Los Angeles Angels team with the majors’ best record, “was up for it today.”

San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan will have season-ending surgery to repair a bulging disk in his back.

Since being named A.L. Pitcher of the Month for July, A’s right-hander Sonny Gray has rarely exhibited the same dominance he did in that month.

One factor in the A’s recent struggles on offense has been their handling of their best scoring opportunities. Going into Monday, the A’s were hitless in their past 15 plate appearances with the bases loaded.

OAKLAND -- A’s right-hander Jeff Samardzija grinned when asked how he’s feeling in this, the final week of the regular season.

Sometime in the near future, San Francisco Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper might email team manager Bruce Bochy a photo of one of the two World Series rings the men have in common. It’s Kuiper’s way of reminding Bochy they’ve had some pretty good times.

The A’s are in the unusual situation of facing three straight left-handed starters in their final home series against the Los Angeles Angels. They get C.J. Wilson in tonight’s opener, Wade LeBlanc tomorrow and Hector Santiago on Wednesday.

When watching from the dugout, A’s first baseman Nate Freiman said, there several immediate indicators that can help you assess whether your teammate has just hit a game-winning home run. They include the sound of the ball off the bat, the reaction of the hitter and the response of the outfielder closest to where the ball is headed.

Much criticism of the A’s Yoenis Cespedes-for-Jon Lester trade has been framed around its creating a certain void in the Oakland offense. Cespedes, people argue, was feared. He took pressure off the other A’s hitters simply by being in the lineup, with opposing pitchers always cognizant of his ability to change games with one swing. And in big moments, Cespedes seemed to rise to the occasion, relishing the role of hero.

A’s left-hander Scott Kazmir didn’t sugar coat his postgame comments after his outing five days ago against Texas, when he was the losing pitcher in a sloppy 6-3 defeat.

They were innovative, entertaining pioneers of the local minor-league sports scene. When the Sacramento City Council showed zero interest in housing a ballpark, the late Art Savage crossed the river, promised to bring home a Triple-A franchise and formed a wildly successful partnership with West Sacramento business leaders, citizens and politicians.

Watching Freddy Galvis’ drive to right-center field carry over the high green Coliseum wall and out of sight, A’s reliever Dan Otero sank into a crouch. Two batters earlier, Otero had broken Cody Asche’s bat, only to see the Philadelphia Phillies’ third baseman fight the pitch into left field for a soft double in the seventh.

OAKLAND -- Sure, Jerome Williams had pitched well the last time he faced the A’s, throwing six innings and allowing one run in a start against Oakland in July.

OAKLAND -- Stephen Vogt this morning was announced as recipient of the A’s annual Catfish Hunter Award. According to the team’s release, the award "honors an A’s player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspiration spirit demonstrated by (Hunter)."

OAKLAND -- Sean Doolittle had to wait one night more than he wanted to for a chance to bounce back from his nightmarish outing Wednesday -- when the A’s closer gave up five ninth-inning runs in a blown save against Texas -- and when it came Friday he was prepared.

The A’s hit two balls in the first inning Friday night that easily could have been hits and came away with nothing. Sam Fuld yanked a line drive that was caught on a leap by Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf, and Josh Donaldson pulled a sharp grounder down the third-base line that Maikel Franco took on a backhand, throwing from behind the bag to beat Donaldson by a step at first.

OAKLAND -- A reeling A’s team coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the last-place Texas Rangers gets a potential shot in the arm tonight with the return of Stephen Vogt to the lineup.

Skeptical members of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned the soundness of Barry Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction for a rambling response to a grand jury in 2003 and left open the possibility they may throw out the verdict.

In the end, it worked out exactly as the Savage family wanted: The River Cats, their family business and Sacramento’s Triple-A baseball team, will be affiliated with the San Francisco Giants – ending a 15-year partnership with the Oakland A’s.

After 15 seasons as the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, the Sacramento River Cats reached a deal Thursday to change their affiliation to the San Francisco Giants next year, citing the Giants’ popularity among area baseball fans as a key motivation.

After 15 seasons, the River Cats have changed their major-league affiliation from the Oakland Athletics to the San Francisco Giants. Will that shift make a difference to you?

Barry Bonds may yet overturn his obstruction of justice conviction.

The River Cats, Triple-A affiliate of the A’s since moving to West Sacramento in 2000, are expected to seek an affiliation change after filing last week for permission to talk with other major-league teams.

It is rare enough for the Giants to score a run off Clayton Kershaw at AT&T Park, much less mount a rally, but the latter occurred twice Sunday. They laced together two hits and a walk in the third inning and three singles in the seventh, with each resulting in a run and feeling like a victory unto itself against the Dodgers left-hander, who in his first 10 career starts in San Francisco had allowed a total of six earned runs.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying
Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
TODAY'S CIRCULARS
Sacramentoconnect.com SacWineRegion.com SacMomsclub.com SacPaws.com BeeBuzz Points Find n Save