No need for extra innings or walk-off dramatics today. The Oakland A’s took care of business early and decisively.
The A’s scored seven runs in the 3rd inning and then kept piling on, resulting in a 12-3 rout of the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum. Along the way, they got major contributions from all three of their newly acquired hitters.
In each of their two previous games, Oakland collected just two hits through eight innings but then heated up at the last minute to snatch walk-off wins during extra frames. But they didn’t wait around this time, taking advantage of an opportunity against arguably the worst opponent in the American League.
The A’s sent a dozen batters to the plate in the 3rd inning, beginning with a simple leadoff walk to No. 9 batter Elvis Andrus. By the end of the rally, they’d gotten run-scoring doubles from Starling Marte, Matt Olson, Yan Gomes, and Matt Chapman, plus an RBI single from Andrus in his second plate appearance of the frame.
They could have settled for that One Big Inning, but in the 4th they kept pushing and posted another crooked number. With former A’s pitcher Jharel Cotton on the mound for the Rangers (photo evidence), Gomes came up with two runners on and went yard. In a world of solo homers, that three-run dinger is a welcome sight.
They eventually batted around in that 4th inning, loading the bases after Gomes’ long ball, meaning that in the 3rd and 4th combined they brought 21 (twenty-one) batters to the plate.
Having already heard from two of Oakland’s new hitters in Marte and Gomes, Josh Harrison got in on the action in the 5th inning. With a runner on and two out, he swatted a dinger of his own for another two insurance runs, one of three hits for him today.
Josh Harrison gets his first dinger in the green and gold pic.twitter.com/VDPHkKakII— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 7, 2021
Marte, Gomes, and Harrison combined to go 7-for-15 with two homers, two doubles, 7 RBI, and four runs scored. Marte also stole a base in the 1st inning but was stranded in scoring position — he now has six steals in his first eight games for the A’s, tying the franchise record for a player’s first eight games with the club (along with Dave Collins in 1985).
The outburst was spectacular enough that Texas called on a position player to pitch the final inning, and Brock Holt! got the nod. He did not disappoint, topping out at 83 mph but also offering several pitches in the 30-34 range. Ever seen a strike at 31 (thirty-one) mph?
Statcast classified the super-slow pitch as an eephus. Perhaps the most amazing part is that he got a groundout with one of them!
Meanwhile, in the land of actual pitchers, Cole Irvin made the most of his run support and cruised through seven innings. He got off to a shaky start, as the third batter of the game blasted a two-run homer off him, but from there he retired 21 of the next 24 batters he faced. His only other real trouble came in the 4th with a pair of two-out baserunners, but he stranded them.
- Irvin: 7 ip, 2 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 4 hits, 92 pitches, 82.4 mph EV
Texas ripped the lefty apart in the 1st inning, as the homer was one of five hard-hit balls in that opening frame, but then they went silent. They only hit it hard off him once the rest of the day. This was Irvin’s third appearance against the Rangers this summer, and by far his best, after each of the previous two finished with five innings and three earned runs apiece.
From my game preview:
“[Two hits in eight innings isn’t] gonna cut it, and it has to improve immediately if this club wants to make the playoffs much less compete for a title. ... The goal for the A’s lineup should be scoring during the first eight innings instead of waiting until the last minute.”
Mission accomplished, for one afternoon at least. This Oakland lineup has the ability to score, especially with all their new trade additions, and today they finally showed it, albeit against a last-place team and a pitcher (Drew Anderson) who was making his second career MLB start at age 27
The A’s have won seven of their last nine games, and in three of those wins they scored at least eight runs. Keep building on that offense, along with this lights-out pitching staff, and you can ride quite the wave.