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22.10.2018 12:48
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sean Manaea is an increasingly bright spot in another dark season for the Oakland Athletics.The rookie pitched seven sharp innings of four-hit ball, but the Los Angeles Angels beat the As 2-1 on Monday night when Ryan Dull bobbled Albert Pujols weak grounder in the eighth, allowing Yunel Escobar to score.Manaea extended his strong finish to the season by trading zeros with Jered Weaver over the first five innings. The left-hander has allowed one run in 18 innings over his last three starts after a two-week absence with a back strain.Hes everything that we want him to be, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. Aside from a few outings early on ... hes been borderline dominant, and against good lineups. Hes been good all year long.Manaea is second among AL rookies with 119 strikeouts while starting 23 games, but he also yielded Mike Trouts 29th homer early in the Angels fifth victory in six games.Stephen Vogt homered in the sixth inning for the last-place As, who have lost six of seven.After Manaea left, the Angels broke through against Dull (5-5). Escobar singled, advanced on Kole Calhouns double and scored when Pujols got his 119th RBI on a 45-foot grounder back to Dull, who bobbled it just enough to stop him from throwing home.Weaver pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit ball, retiring Oaklands first 14 batters before Danny Valencias fifth-inning single.The veteran used his deception and control to flummox the As in what could be his penultimate start at the Big A. The stalwart of the Angels rotation since 2006 doesnt yet have a contract for next season, but he has strung together a series of solid starts down the stretch.Its a little weird, Weaver said. Its different, something Ive never gone through or dealt with before, not knowing what the future holds. It was a little emotional coming down the tunnel here.Weaver was removed after just 71 pitches when his back tightened up on a 90-degree night in Anaheim, but he doesnt think the injury will stop him from pitching Sunday in the season finale.J.C. Ramirez (2-1) worked the eighth and former As closer Andrew Bailey earned his sixth save for the Angels (70-87), who opened their final homestand of the season needing to go 6-0 to match their worst record since 1999. Los Angeles has missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.BIG FISHTrout homered leading off the fourth, driving in his 98th run. The AL MVP candidate hasnt let up despite the Angels woes: He drew his major league-best 111th walk in the sixth inning to set a career high, and added his 112th walk in the eighth, pulling one behind Tony Phillips for the franchise record.TRAINERS ROOMAthletics: OF Josh Lambo rejoined the team for batting practice three months after testicular cancer surgery. Hes hoping to play winter ball next month.Angels: RHP Garrett Richards will throw live batting practice Wednesday. He hasnt faced hitters since tearing an elbow ligament in May.UP NEXTAthletics: Daniel Mengden (2-8, 5.74 ERA) has the lowest winning percentage in the AL, but is 2-1 with a .232 opponents batting average on the road this season.Angels: Ricky Nolasco (7-14, 4.60) has won his last two starts, throwing 13 scoreless innings. He also threw a shutout at the Big A earlier this season. Carlos Gomez Jersey . The No. 1-ranked Nadal tweaked his back warming up for the Australian Open final, which he lost almost four weeks ago in a major upset against Stanislas Wawrinka. His first stop after the layoff is the clay in Rio as he tests the back and tries to stay healthy for the French Open in three months. Mallex Smith Jersey . -- Matt Kuchar and Harris English ran away with the Franklin Templeton Shootout, shooting a 14-under 58 on Sunday in the final-round scramble to break the tournament course record. . The mixed zone is not a place to make friends. Custom Tampa Bay Rays Jerseys . -- The Magic have their first victory of the new year. Matt Duffy Jersey .1 million pounds ($61.2 million) on Saturday, giving the beleaguered English Premier League champions a major lift. MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins badly need to improve their pitching staff, with a team ERA that ranked among the three worst in the majors in five of the last six seasons.Help can come from all corners of the organization, including behind the plate. Thats why the Twins signed former Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro to a three-year contract worth $24.5 million, a deal agreed to last week and finalized Wednesday.We feel this is a great step in the right direction to building the team that we set out to build, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.Castro will make $8.5 million in 2017, $8 million in 2018 and $8 million in 2019. He became a free agent after six seasons with the Astros, hitting .232 with 114 doubles, 62 home runs, 212 RBI and 215 walks in 617 career games after being drafted in the first round out of Stanford in 2008.I definitely know that this organization is capable of doing some great things, Castro said. They have a lot of young really good talent and some veterans thrown in the mix that can make for a special group.The Twins finished 59-103, their worst record in Minnesota and the worst in the major leagues in 2016. Castro experienced some similar growing pains with a young Astros team that lost 106, 107 and 111 games from 2011-13 before making the playoffs in 2015.Looking at their roster and the pitchers that they have here, I think that this group is a little bit ahead of where the Astros were, Castro said on a conference call with Minnesota reporters.Kurt Suuzuki became a free agent after serving as Minnesotas primary catcher over the last three seasons, including an All-Star selection in 2014 when he batted a career-high .dddddddddddd.288. Suzukis career average is 24 points higher than Castros, and the left-handed hitting Castro batted only .210 with 11 homers and 32 RBI last year. He was an All-Star in 2013, when he hit a career-best .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI.The newest Twins backstop is considered an upgrade on defense, though, in terms of both fielding his position and handling a pitching staff. Castro threw out 24 percent of base-stealers last year, and Suzuki had a 19 percent success rate. Plus, there are the areas of game planning and game calling, each difficult to quantify.We feel Jason is one of the best at that, Falvey said, adding: Ive certainly observed and witnessed that the impact of catchers who commit to that side of the game ... has an exponentially positive effect on the pitching staff.Framing pitches, a sneaky skill that has drawn more attention in recent years through the rise in analytical evaluation and available data in the sport, is another one of Castros strengths.The goal at the end of the day is to try to help your pitcher keep as many strikes as possible, Castro said, just to be almost as unrecognized as possible behind the plate to allow the pitchers work to speak for itself. 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