Rangers setup man Mike Adams had allowed one homer in 51 2/3 innings this season until suddenly giving up three to the five A’s hitters he faced today.
Fortunately for Adams, the Rangers had a 9-4 cushion when he entered and they went on to win 9-7 to split a four-game series with the A’s.
Texas jumped out to a 5-0 lead in a first inning that featured homers from Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli and then withstood Oakland’s change. Josh Reddick homered twice for the A’s, and Derek Norris, Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss homered once apiece.
For Moss, it was his 20th homer in 246 at-bats this season. He’s gotten increased playing time of late, so he won’t become the seventh player in big-league history to finish a season with 20 homers and fewer than 250 at-bats. However, he will be the 30th player to have done it in less than 300 at-bats.
With Moss joining Reddick and Cespedes, the A’s now have three 20-homer guys, matching their total from the previous four seasons combines. They went without a 20-homer guy in 2010, and they had just one player get there in 2008 (Jack Cust), 2009 (Cust) and 2011 (Josh Willingham).
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.