Giants & A’s

Matt Kawahara, Bay Area baseball beat writer

A’s try to pull even with Angels atop A.L. West behind Lester

08/23/2014 4:32 PM

10/08/2014 12:15 PM

OAKLAND -- The A’s are facing a left-hander in the Angels’ C.J. Wilson for the second day in a row, which means manger Bob Melvin experienced the odd feeling of filling out the same lineup for the second day in a row.

"Got here late," Melvin joked. "Just threw the same lineup together."

It worked last night, as the A’s returned to their preferred offensive formula in a 5-3 win by receiving contributions from throughout the lineup. That included a double and a key sacrifice fly from ninth hitter Andy Parrino, who’s currently filling in for the injured Jed Lowrie at shortstop against left-handers.

Parrino is known for his defense -- his nickname at Triple-A Sacramento was "The Magician" -- but hasn’t hit much in his limited experience with the A’s. He was hitless in his last 14 at-bats before the double last night. Lowrie was one of the A’s hottest hitters at the time he broke his finger and Parrino won’t be expected to match Lowrie’s production, but the A’s don’t want to feel like he’s an offensive liability either.

"For him, a game like that can go a long way," Melvin said. "He made some nice plays in the field, doubled in the gap, big sac fly. For a guy that doesn’t have a whole lot of big-league time, especially this time of the year, that can really be a big confidence boost."

There’s no update on Lowrie, who still is unable to throw a ball while his finger heals. Lowrie has taken ground balls without throwing and Melvin said he’s doing one-arm swings with a bat, but until Lowrie can throw, he won’t be near a return.

That has the A’s potentially going into September having to mix and match at a fairly key position in shortstop. Melvin, though, said: "It is what it is. You go through injuries in the course of the season and you just have to deal with it. That’s why you create the depth that you do."

The full A’s lineup tonight against Wilson, as they try to pull back even with the Angels in the A.L. West:

CF Crisp

LF Gentry

3B Donaldson

C Norris

DH Gomes

1B Freiman

2B Callaspo

RF Fuld

SS Parrino

And the Angels’ lineup against A’s left-hander Jon Lester:

RF Cowgill

CF Trout

1B Pujols

LF Hamilton

DH Freese

2B Kendrick

SS Aybar

C Iannetta

3B Beckham

* Also on the injury front, first baseman Kyle Blanks’ MRI showed tendinitis in his left Achilles. Blanks was rehabbing from what was originally termed a calf strain but began experiencing pain in both lower legs, Melvin said.

"He’s going to be shut down for a while," Melvin said.

* Melvin said today is likely the last day that right-hander Jason Hammel, whose turn in the rotation was skipped so the A’s could throw their top three starters at the Angels, will be available in a possible relief role. Hammel would most likely only be used if a starter was knocked out early or in an extra-innings game where the A’s have exhausted the rest of their bullpen.

Hammel’s next start is scheduled for Tuesday against Houston, so it’s unlikely he would be used in relief Sunday or Monday. Melvin said that to stay sharp, Hammel is "throwing some aggressive side (sessions) and trying to work on some things mechanically to where he’s got a consistent arm slot and the ball’s going where he wants it to."

* Fuld is the lone left-handed hitter in the A’s lineup against Wilson, which Melvin said is largely due to his splits against left-handed pitchers. Fuld has actually hit left-handers better than right-handers this season (.269 average, .715 OPS against LHP; .255 and .694 against RHP), and over his career (.250 and .680; .237 and .650).

"That’s why you don’t see (Josh) Reddick in the lineup right now against these lefties," Melvin said. "It’s almost like having nine righties in there."

* It was pointed out to Melvin that the curveball Angels center fielder Mike Trout hit for a first-inning homer off Sonny Gray last night was near his ankles when he made contact. Melvin’s response: "Yeah, he pulled out his seven-iron for that one.

"Sometimes you just tip your hat," Melvin said. "It wasn’t a bad pitch. He maybe wants to get it a little more away, but it looks like potentially (catcher Derek Norris is) going to have to block it, and next thing you know it ends up over the fence."

Melvin on Trout: "He’s pretty unique, put it that way."

* Lester is coming off his first loss with the A’s, a 4-3 defeat in Atlanta in which he gave up just three runs in six innings but two home runs for just the third time this season. The left-hander is 4-2 with a 4.44 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels, but has not faced them since Aug. 30, 2012.

About This Blog

Matt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at mkawahara@sacbee.com. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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