Sure, Felix Hernandez did his usual thing, striking out 10 as Seattle bested Cleveland 9-2 on Wednesday. But this was no ordinary game:
– We mentioned last month that Josh Tomlin broke Daisuke Matsuzaka’s major league record for outings of at least five innings to begin a career. That streak was snapped at 37 today, as he was charged with six runs in 4 2/3 innings. Tomlin broke the record with his 29th straight appearance of at least five innings on July 4.
– The incomparable Wily Mo Pena went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double, four RBI, a walk and a HBP. Yes, that’s right, a walk. It was his first in 23 games this season. His previous major league walk came on July 29, 2008. It was also his first three-hit game since Sept. 14, 2007, and it marked the first time in 583 career games that he’s reached base five times.
– Kyle Seager went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored. Chris Coghlan on April 6 and Ben Zobrist on June 11 are the only other two players to collect four hits, three doubles and three runs scored in a game this season. Including Tuesday’s doubleheader, Seager now has a remarkable 10 hits in two days, raising his average from .224 to .312. He’s the 12th player this year to have three straight games with three hits. No one has made it to four.
– Jamey Wright fanned five in two scoreless innings out of the pen. It was his high strikeout game since Aug. 3, 2007 and the first time he’s ever fanned so many batters without throwing at least four innings.
– Mariners pitching as a whole fanned 16 batters, the team’s most in a nine-inning game since Aug. 8, 1997. The team did have 16 strikeouts in a 14-inning win over the White Sox on Aug. 12, 2009.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.