The Oakland A’s came in like a lamb and went out like a lion on Saturday.
After a quiet loss in the first game of a doubleheader, the A’s roared to life in the nightcap and devoured the Texas Rangers in a 10-1 victory.
In the opening game the Rangers scored all five of their runs in the 1st inning, and in the encore Oakland jumped out to an even bigger start. The A’s brought 13 batters to the plate in the 2nd inning, with the first eight reaching base, and in the end seven runs crossed the plate. They went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position, including RBI hits from Ramon Laureano, Sean Murphy, Marcus Semien, and Tommy La Stella, as well as bases-loaded walks from Matt Olson and Khris Davis. They did all of it without needing any homers.
Those seven runs turned out to be enough on their own, but the green and gold piled on more in the 5th, and this time they tapped into their power. Murphy and Vimael Machin got on base from the bottom of the lineup, and then Semien blasted a three-run dinger to left.
In this case, the seven-inning doubleheader worked out more like a mercy rule. Texas got one back on a solo homer by Joey Gallo, but otherwise they couldn’t figure out A’s starter Chris Bassitt despite reaching base plenty against him.
Bassitt: 6 ip, 1 run, 8 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 8 hits, 100 pitches (65 strikes)
Combine that with his previous start and he’s got 13 innings with just one run allowed and a dozen strikeouts. He was relieved by Yusmeiro Petit in the 7th, who came in to wrap up with a shaky but scoreless frame.
While scoring 10 runs is fun, perhaps the biggest takeaway is that the A’s won a challenge at home plate. And involving Matt Olson, no less. For their first run of the evening, the throw beat Olson but the catcher had to turn to tag him, and Olson slid in (with his foot down this time) and grazed the front of the plate before the glove got there. He was called safe initially, and it was not overturned as has been done to Olson multiple times even when there’s not evidence. Progress!
Oakland has won two of the first three games in this series, and the finale is coming Sunday morning. It’ll be Frankie Montas against Lance Lynn at 11:35 a.m.