Suddenly just 2 games back of Astros in AL West
How well are things going for the Oakland A’s right now? Not only have they won four games in a row, and eight out of 10, they’re even getting the benefit of replay reviews.
The A’s challenged two calls in the 1st inning and won both of them, helping them post an early crooked number en route to a 6-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. The triumph completes a three-game weekend sweep of the Rangers at the Coliseum.
Oakland’s lineup is hot, and once again some of their newly acquired hitters were in the middle of the action. Starling Marte got things started by bunting for a single and then stealing second base — he was initially called out at second, but the A’s challenged and it was correctly overturned to safe.
Here’s a replay of Marte’s league-leading 29th steal pic.twitter.com/v833tcJdmh
— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) August 8, 2021
That’s Marte’s seventh steal already in nine games for Oakland, and he’s yet to be caught. He basically willed himself into scoring position using nothing but pure hustle and IQ. Matt Olson walked to fill the empty first base, and then Jed Lowrie continued his RISP wizardry by knocking a single to drive Marte home.
Lowrie is batting .367 with runners in scoring position, which is Top 5 in the majors among qualified hitters.
Next up was another newcomer in Josh Harrison. He nearly ended the inning by grounding into a double play, but Texas flubbed the throw for the final out while a hustling Harrison beat it out. Sean Murphy followed by ripping a double down the LF line, and once again Harrison’s max effort came in handy. Lowrie scored easily on the play, and Harrison was hot on his heels trying to come all the way around from first base. He was initially called out at the plate, but the A’s issued another challenge and got another favorable result — Harrison was safe and the run counted after all!
Sean Murphy drove in two to give the A’s the lead after the call at the plate was overturned pic.twitter.com/3f3JdIq0Cx
— A’s on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 8, 2021
On review, it wasn’t actually close at all, and the umps seemed to know right away that they’d missed this one. Technically the catcher never even touched Harrison, just his dislodged helmet in the air behind him, and by that point Harrison had already touched the plate long before the glove made any contact.
Put it all together and it was quite a 1st inning. There was Marte bunting and stealing and being the perfect sparkplug, and Lowrie coming through with his usual Professional Hitter act. Both RBI hits were legit hard-hit balls, and an extra dash of hustle on the bases made the difference. Mix in two successful replay overturns and a defensive miscue by the opponent, all fully taken advantage of by Oakland, and it’s a whole lot of what we want to see for the rest of the year.
And that was just the 1st inning.
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