Macha Shows Confidence in Ellis

When former major-leaguer D'Angelo Jimenez was called up from the minors last Friday, the natural question was if he would see any playing time or if Mark Ellis would continue to play every day at second base.

After all, Jimenez was on fire in the minors, going 18-for-35 (.514) with 10 RBIs and five three-hit games over his last eight games in the minors. Meanwhile, Ellis was hitting .216 at the time, and came into Monday's game with a .192 average since the All-Star break.

"I'd like to see Ellis start hitting," A's manager Ken Macha said at the time. "Mark has a good track record with me. He'll get a long period of time to get his offense going."

Four games later, Macha's patience was rewarded with Ellis' biggest offensive night of the year.

Ellis, batting ninth, hit a two-run home run in the third inning to give the A's the lead, and then hit a two-run double in the sixth inning that extended their lead en route to a 7-4 win over the Rangers.

It felt good for Ellis, who doesn't look like the most intense player on the field, but he's been steaming at his offensive struggles because he didn't feel like he was doing much to help the team.

Of course, Ellis' defense never wavered, which is a big reason why Macha is willing to give him a long period of time to get his offense going.

REPLAY: Starter Esteban Loaiza allowed 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but only four runs, as he pitched out of trouble. One of the key plays occurred with runners at second and third with one out, when Loaiza induced a grounder to third, where Eric Chavez made a great stop, tagged the diving runner, and threw to first for a double play.

Milton Bradley continued his strong second-half surge with a home run and two RBIs. The home run accounted for the final run in the 7-4 win. Kiko Calero pitched the ninth for the save. Normal closer Huston Street wasn't available because he's pitched so much lately.

A'S NOTES AND QUOTES

  • CF Mark Kotsay didn't start Monday's homestand opener against Texas due to back spasms. Kotsay left Sunday's game after six innings, and is expected to miss the Rangers series. He could return to the lineup Friday. "I never know when it's coming," Kotsay said Sunday. "When it goes, it goes, and I know I don't belong out there."

  • LHP Joe Kennedy started and pitched two scoreless innings in a rehab assignment Monday for Triple-A Sacramento, striking out one and walking one.

  • LHP Scott Sauerbeck followed Kennedy in a rehab assignment Monday, pitching two scoreless innings after Kennedy left the game. He struck out two and walked one. Both lefties are scheduled to pitch Wednesday for Class A Stockton in rehab assignments.

  • RHP Rich Harden could begin a throwing program this week. The team's decision makers will go over options and decide the best course of action. Harden hasn't pitched since June 4 due to a sprained right elbow.

  • C Adam Melhuse recorded just the second pinch hit of the season for the A's, singling for Frank Thomas in the seventh inning. Melhuse had been in an 0-for-14 skid as a pinch hitter. Oakland's pinch hitters are now 2-for-34 this year.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of two-inning saves this year by closer Huston Street, through Aug. 6. The latest was a crucial one, Aug. 2, to secure the rubber game of a three-game series against the Angels.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Knowing the odds are stacked against you in the draft; it's like giving yourself extra lottery balls. The chance of guys getting to the big leagues decreases exponentially as you go from round to round. You feel like if you have more picks, especially up top, that gives you much better odds." -- A's assistant general manager David Forst, on obtaining extra draft picks as compensation for losing free agents, such as the A's will almost assuredly do with Barry Zito this offseason.

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