D.J. Short posted earlier about the O.co Coliseum’s latest sewage issue as a result of rain in the Oakland area. The showers caused a two-hour delay while players, coaches, and clubhouse personnel dealt with the primitive conditions indoors. Once play resumed, the A’s wasted no time getting on the board.
Alberto Callaspo contributed an RBI single in the first. In the second, Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly, Yoenis Cespedes singled to left to score two, then Callaspo slugged a two-run home run to left field to cap off a five-run inning.
From there, it was smooth sailing for Athletics starter Jarrod Parker. The right-hander went six strong innings, allowing just one run — a Josmil Pinto home run in the fifth — on four hits and a walk. He only struck out one Twin, but the Athletics were happy to play solid defense behind him. The offense continued to tack on, as Kurt Suzuki blasted a two-run home run in the seventh and Cespedes added a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth.
A’s relievers Dan Otero and Jerry Blevins teamed up for three shutout innings, finalizing the 9-1 victory. Moving to 92-63, the Athletics reduce their magic number to one. With the Rangers leading the Royals 3-0 late as of this writing, the Athletics will look to wrap up the AL West title tomorrow afternoon behind starter Sonny Gray.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.