The A’s were dealt a couple of very tough losses in the first two games against the Giants. On Friday, Ryan Cook, who entered with an 0.57 ERA, gave up four runs in the ninth to take a blown save and a loss. On Saturday, the A’s rallied for four runs in the ninth, only to come up just short and lose 9-8.
Today, the A’s finally got it done, all thanks to Derek Norris’ first major league homer.
Norris delivered a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth off Santiago Casilla, giving the A’s a 4-2 victory. It was just the second blown save in 22 opportunities for Casilla.
Norris was called up last week to share time with the struggling Kurt Suzuki behind the plate for Oakland. Today’s start was his third as a big leaguer, but he already has more RBI (four) than Suzuki does in the last month (three).
The A’s comeback ruined Matt Cain’s streak of victories in eight straight starts. No one else has won more than six consecutive starts this season, though R.A. Dickey will go for No. 7 tonight. Cain didn’t figure in the decision, obviously, but this marked the first time since May 1 than the Giants had lost one of his starts.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.