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Surging A’s bash four homers, bolster quick start to shortened season

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A’s long ball is back!

A pair of home runs from Matt Olson and phenomenal pitching from Burch Smith lifted Oakland to a 6-4 victory over the Texas Rangers Wednesday night.

Rookie catcher Austin Allen had his first MLB homer to give the A’s two-runs and a 5-4 lead.

CORRECTION The original headline of this story misstated the number of home runs hit by the Oakland A’s Wednesday night. SFBay regrets the error.

Olson ended the night with a two-run homer and a solo shot to right-center. His first home run of the night gave the A’s (8-4) their first lead of the game 2-1. His second off Luke Farrell‘s first pitch of the game gave the A’s their sixth and final run of the night. The A’s had four home runs Wednesday night and extended their win streak to five games.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

Bob Melvin talked about how big of a day it was for his rookie catcher Allen:

“Talk about a huge hit and a huge homer and then calling a win and finishing out. It’s a big day for him. You always remember those days, certainly your first homer but contributing all the way around and catching a W, especially when we are behind, this will be a day that he will remember forever, so huge contributions from him and obviously we have been known to hit homers before and score a lot of runs with homers so it is not a surpirse.”

Allen was 0-for-11 prior to his home run, and Melvin explained that players tend to press a bit when they don’t get a hit right away. He said he talked to Allen about that:

“It is frustrating when you see multiple games go by and you have no hits. You start to press a little bit but obviously he wont anymore and his first one was as impactful as it could possibly be being that were down by one and all of a sudden were ahead by one so now i think he can relax a little bit more with his at bats.”

Sean Manaea gave up a solo homer to Shin-Soo Choo (3) on a 90-mph fastball to start the game with an early 1-0 lead. He struck out three to end the first inning and what looked like was getting better only got worse in the fourth.

Manaea didn’t have much to say about his performance:

“No, overall I thought it was OK. I felt good going in and ya just lost the game, I don’t know. Overall it was just an OK outing.”

Melvin said he isn’t worried about Manaea, and talked about what went wrong in the fourth:

“Just his location kinda quit on him a little bit. He got some balls in the middle of the plate so just having trouble getting through those middle innings some point in time he will I believe so, but the first three seem to be pretty good and then obviously Choo his first one out of the ballpark and settles down. Has a nice inning, gets us to that point but just struggled enough in the fourth where we needed to get someone else and Burch did a fantastic job for us today so at times you have to pick somebody up and Burch picked Sean up tonight.”

Todd Friazer led off the fourth inning with a single to center. Robinson Chirinos walked to follow. Nick Solak hit a line-drive RBI double down the right-field foul line and the ball landed in the back corner of right field to tie the game 2-2.

With men on second and third, no outs, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a blooper to gold glove third baseman Matt Chapman who couldn’t get full control of the ball and had to eat it on the play. There was no error on the play, but a run scored making it 3-2 and still no outs.

Rob Refsnyder hit a sac-fly to deep right-center to make it 4-2 and give the A’s their first out. Manaea had 73 pitches before he was relieved by Smith, who somehow managed to quickly get two outs in just seven pitches and got the A’s out of the inning down 4-2.

Manaea (3 IP, 4 runs, 6 hits, 5 SO, 1 BB) allowed all four of the Rangers runs. Burch Smith relieved Manaea and retired ten straight batters. He kept the Rangers scoreless through 2-1/3 innings.

Allen caught his second win of the season on Wednesday and talked about how amazing Smith is on the mound:

“Burch is nasty. He’s got that fastball that just spins. It has that spin rate that everyone talks about now and he can throw his curve ball and change up at any time too. He is definitely one of those guys that is coming out of the bullpen and he is going to attack hitters.”

Rangers starter Kyle Gibson (ND, 6.0 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2.45 ERA) gave up a single to Kemp to lead off the bottom of the first inning before Olson brought him in with a homer to deep right-center to give the A’s a 2-1 lead. Gibson came into the third inning with 30 pitches and left with 60 after back-to-back walks and multiple full counts. He was able to get out of the inning without allowing a run, and left Olson and Ramon Laureano stranded on the bases.

T.J McFarland relieved Smith, facing three batters and giving up a hit while retiring two. Soria pitched the eighth and got the last two outs with just six pitches and a strikeout. He closed the game and had a perfect ninth inning for the save. 

In the fifth, the A’s dugout yelled something to cause the home plate umpire Bill Miller to pause the game and go yell at them:

“Who said it?”

No one answered and he continued to ask. He may or may not have taken his anger out on Semien, who struck out looking on a not-so-strike looking pitch for the second out, down 4-2. Semien was not happy and stood at the plate for a second before walking in. Laureano changed the mood right away, hitting a solo homer to straight-away center to cut the Rangers to 4-3.

With one out and the tying runner on first in the seventh, Austin Allen gave the A’s the lead back in the seventh. He was 0-for-2 headed into the game and 0-for-11 this season, but a two-run homer to right-center, 406 feet deep, made it 5-4.

Allen’s first offensive contribution and first big league home run was hit high in the air, and it took a while to realize it was a homer. But when it was, the A’s went wild. Allen talked about his first dinger and how that felt:

“I didn’t even feel it hit the bat, i just heard it. It was just relief. When I was running around first base i saw it go over, I cant even put it into words. I’m happy.”

Ian Gibaut (L, 0-1, 9.00 ERA) entered the game with a 7.20 ERA, and increased it to 9.00 ERA after Allen’s at-bat. 

Allen said he isn’t worried about Manaea. He knows Manaea will come out strong for his next outing. Allen is happy to be in Oakland and expressed that tonight:

“Being traded over here and just getting close with these group of guys has just been unbelievable these guys have helped me out every single day. They are giving me tips and advice and I am so happy to be an Oakland A and I am happy to be here and I hope i can stay here for a long time.”

Tony Kemp had a pair of hits on Wednesday and was off to a slow start early in the season. He had his first hit of the season in Seattle and texted his mom excited, “Did you see it?” He seems to have found his rhythm and is getting consistent at the plate.

Up Next

Oakland plays their final game of the series against the Texas Rangers Thursday at 12:40 p.m. Two Mikes will be on the mound to start, as the A’s Mike Fiers and Rangers LHP Mike Minor will battle it out. May the best Mike win.

Notes

Austin Allen recorded his first MLB homer. … Sean Murphy will be back in line up tomorrow. Elvis Andrus recorded his 300th steal in his career on Wednesday in the third inning when he stole third.


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