Infrequent homer bursts don’t bug Lowrie, Melvin

When Jed Lowrie debuted with the A’s back in April, he hit three home runs in the first week of the season.

Was that setting unreasonable expectations? You bet.

True, he’d hit 16 homers last year for the Astros in 97 games, but there was ever reason to believe that was a fluke. He’d never hit more than nine in a season, although admittedly he was never a full-time player. And Minute Maid Park isn’t the toughest place to go deep.

   Lowrie is a full-time player now. Since coming to the A’s a week before spring training, Lowrie has started 70 of the A’s first 78 games, including Saturday’s night game in Seattle’s Safeco Field.

But since that three-homer spree in the first week of the season he hadn’t gone deep until Friday, when his fourth-inning shot to right-center tied the game, setting up a decisive homer by Coco Crisp two innings later.

That homer ended a 62-game homerless streak for Lowrie. But if it’s another 62 games for Lowrie without a homer, that’s OK with manager Bob Melvin. The skipper wants Lowrie to get on base, to hit the ball in the gap and to remain an offensive pest.

“He’s an on-base guy, someone who hits balls in the gap,’’ Melvin said. “He’s going to hit from both sides of the plate. He’ll hit his share of home runs.’’

But there’s always a “but.’’

“In batting practice, he never falls into that trap,’’ Melvin said, saying the veteran infielder works on hitting the ball into the gaps and down the line

And it seems to be working. Lowrie is tied for 10th in the American League with 20 doubles. He’s second to Josh Donaldson with 21 multiple-hit games. He’s flirted with a .300 batting average all year and came into Saturday at .298.

“I’m not thinking about hitting a lot of home runs,’’ Lowrie said. “I’m confident doing (what he’s doing).’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.