8/24/2013 10:08 P.M. ET
Crisp could be key cog in stretch run
By Todd Karpovich / Special to MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- The offense for Oakland sometimes seems to feed off leadoff man Coco Crisp, and he could be a huge factor in the A's run toward the playoffs.
Crisp hit a go-ahead home run in to lead off the ninth inning of Saturday's 2-1 win over the Orioles and has now homered in three straight games.
When Crisp gets hot, other players often follow suit. In Friday's series opener against Baltimore, Crisp tied a career high with four hits, and homered and scored three runs. Though the A's got 12 hits, and scored four runs in the fourth inning, it wasn't enough to overcome some shaky pitching in the eventual 9-7 loss.
Nonetheless, A's manager Bob Melvin was happy with the production from the offense. He remains confident his team will win more games than it loses when the bats are clicking, especially when Crisp gets on base.
"Coco is our table setter," Melvin said. "When Coco plays well we seem to fall in behind him. We put up runs like that, we usually win those games."
The A's still own the second Wild Card spot, but the Orioles are right on their heels, trailing by only two games entering Saturday. Oakland was 2 1/2 games behind Boston, which trailed Tampa Bay by mere percentage points for first place in the American League East, for the top Wild Card spot.
Entering Saturday's game against Baltimore, the A's had lost four of their last six and were just 15-17 since the All-Star break.
"You always want to win every single game," Crisp said. "You win some, you lose some. We've been going through a tough stretch."
Oakland also trailed Texas by 3 1/2 games for first place in the American League West entering Saturday. Melvin said the goal is to win the division to avoid the one-game Wild Card playoff. Crisp will likely play a huge role in reaching that goal.
Suzuki gets first start back with A's
BALTIMORE -- Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki, who joined the team Friday in Baltimore after being traded from the Nationals, got the start on Saturday, and he was paired up with righty Jarrod Parker.
Suzuki, batting ninth, doubled and scored the A's first run in their 2-1 win over the Orioles on Saturday, and made a nice play on a bunt to throw out Manny Machado in the eighth inning.
Manager Bob Melvin informed Suzuki when he joined the club that he would likely get a start against the Orioles. Suzuki spent Friday getting himself acclimated to his new surroundings.
"He wanted to give me [Friday] to get my stuff situated," Suzuki said. "I'll be ready everyday."
The A's acquired Suzuki from Washington for Minor League right-hander Dakota Bacus. Suzuki hit .222 with three home runs and 25 RBIs in 79 games for the Nationals this season.
Suzuki spent the first 5 1/2 seasons of his career with Oakland, and Melvin said Suzuki's experience with the team could prove vital, especially this late in the season.
"He's caught Jarrod before," Melvin said. "That was one one of the reasons we were hoping to get him, because there is very little transition involved. If you're bringing in somebody who has never caught these guys before with 35 games left, there is a transition."
Reddick returns after missing one game
BALTIMORE -- Oakland right fielder Josh Reddick returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Orioles after missing Friday's game with a sore right wrist.
He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Orioles.
Reddick was injured on Wednesday against Seattle diving for a ball. An MRI did not reveal any damage, and Reddick was able to take batting practice prior to Friday's game without any major issues.
Melvin chose to leave Reddick on the bench for the series opener for some additional rest. However, Reddick said he was ready to go on Saturday against right-hander Chris Tillman.
"He could have played [Friday], but I didn't want him to play," Melvin said. "He's good to go. Feels good. He's a tough guy who takes pride in playing every day."
Rotation still in flux for Tigers series
BALTIMORE -- Oakland manager Bob Melvin would not commit to a rotation for a four-game series at Detroit starting on Monday.
A.J. Griffin will pitch the first game against the Tigers. But Melvin is still waiting to see how Brett Anderson and Bartolo Colon are progressing with their injuries before committing to the other spots.
"There are some different variables to it, based on Brett Anderson's potential availability and where we are with Bartolo," Melvin said of Colon, who is on the disabled list with a strained left groin and will throw a bullpen session on Monday in Detroit. It will be Colon's first bullpen all year, because he is more accustomed to throwing from flat ground.
Anderson, who is on the disabled list with an injured right foot, could also get a bullpen session that day, Melvin said.
"We'll make some decisions in Detroit about what we have going forward," Melvin said.
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.