The Oakland A’s have some star hitters off to great starts this season, but on Saturday a couple of their new bats stepped up to carry the load.
The A’s got home runs from rookie outfielder Seth Brown and new catcher Austin Allen en route to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Oakland has now won the first two contests in the weekend three-game series at the Coliseum.
Most of the A’s offensive highlights this year have come from the likes of Ramon Laureano, Mark Canha, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Murphy, or Mitch Moreland, but that group went hitless today, 0-for-17 with six walks combined.
Instead, a couple different heroes emerged. Brown had finished the previous night’s game with a walk-off homer, and this afternoon he picked up where he’d left off with another blast, this one even farther at 412 feet.
That gave Oakland an early 2-0 lead, and they added to it in the 2nd inning. This time it was Allen, who was called up from the minors on Tuesday and made his season debut the next day. This was his second MLB appearance of the season, after playing 14 games for the A’s last summer.
Better yet, these dingers came off Tampa Bay starter Tyler Glasnow, who was last seen by A’s fans a couple weeks ago mowing down the green-and-gold for seven scoreless innings. This time around, they got to him.
But these are the Rays, so of course no game is over after two innings.
For five frames, Tampa Bay put a runner on but couldn’t string together a rally. In the 6th they followed the A’s example and just hit one over the wall, with Brandon Lowe slugging a two-run homer to narrow Oakland’s lead.
The A’s were up to the task, and quickly added insurance. Tony Kemp led off the 7th with a single and made his way to third base, then came around to score on an RBI single by Brown. That’s the fourth time in the last two days that Brown has come to the plate and delivered a run-scoring hit of some kind, and he didn’t even start yesterday’s game.
Seth Brown continuing to do Seth Brown things. pic.twitter.com/2F9qdwUZbg— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 8, 2021
In the 8th Kemp doubled, and the Rays handed Oakland a run with an error to score him. And then, something we’ve been waiting a long time for — Elvis Andrus came through at the plate. With a runner on first, he doubled into the gap for his fifth RBI of the season.
Six runs is a pretty good output against Tampa Bay, and it was indeed enough on this day.
Frankie Fuego & The 3 Relievers
Three runs allowed to Tampa Bay is also a good performance, and that’s what the A’s pitching staff pulled off.
That began with starter Frankie Montas, who navigated through every punch the Rays threw until the 6th, when Lowe finally landed a blow. Montas didn’t quite finish six innings, but he certainly put his team in a position to win.
- Montas: 5⅓ ip, 2 runs, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 5 hits, 88 pitches, 90.2 mph EV
Especially helpful was the way he missed bats, a dozen of them to be exact, and often after a runner had already reached base. Can’t have a “stuff happens” moment with a wacky batted ball if they aren’t putting the bat on the ball. And the whiffs came with a bit of Frankie Fuego flair.
Montas also got some help from his catcher, as Allen made a play on defense to go with his dinger on offense. In the 2nd inning he caught Kevin Kiermaier trying to steal second base, although unfortunately Kiermaier was hurt on the play and exited the game (good news: X-rays were negative).
Tell us Austin Allen is having a good day without telling us Austin Allen is having a good day. pic.twitter.com/A4GLF5uO3p— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 8, 2021
Less than six frames from the starter meant work for the bullpen, and they answered the call. Yusmeiro Petit got the first four outs.
Petit allowed a runner in the 7th, but Jake Diekman helped out by stranding him. Then Diekman got into some trouble in the 8th and let a run score, but Lou Trivino was there to clean up. Teamwork! Trivino loaded the bases in the 9th, but made it through unscathed.
Frankie Montas on Lou Trivino bouncing back: "Ain't nobody sweating Lou. He's good at what he's doing."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) May 8, 2021
Every game against the Rays feels like playoff baseball, and this was no different. But Oakland held tough and prevailed.
The 2021 wave continues, and the A’s are right back on the winning side with the first two of this weekend series, thanks in no small part to a few of the newest members of the lineup. Oakland has now clinched the season series against Tampa Bay, and they’ll have a chance for a sweep on Sunday in the finale.
Austin Allen said he was waving to his parents and wife in the stands as he rounded the bases on his home run. Given they were unable to watch him play in person last season, Allen said: "This is their first time seeing me in an A's uniform, so they love it and they’re happy."— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) May 8, 2021