Game 98 wrapup: Sogard trying to make a case for staying the course; bunt, double steal open up offense a bit and Moss discovers left field
By John Hickey
Sunday, July 21st, 2013 at 5:20 pm in 2013 regular season.
After spending two days generating virtually no offense, the A’s were in a whatever-it-takes mode Sunday against the Angels.
That included the second homer of the month from Eric Sogard, who’d come into July homerless in over a year. It included three hits to left field from dead pull hitter Brandon Moss. It included a double steal from Josh Reddick and Chris Young. And it included a sacrifice bunt from Coco Crisp that turned into a hit and more.
Sogard, who’d broken a drought with a homer in Kansas City on July 7, said he was trying to move Young from second to third by hitting behind him in the third inning. He did that, and more, elevating a pitch from Jerome Williams enough to settle it into the first few rows of the bleachers near the foul pole.
“I just wanted to hit behind the runner,’’ Sogard said. “We’d been having some trouble scoring runs. I got a fastball inside and I was able to get it up a little.’’
With the trade deadline coming up, there are suggestions that the A’s might look to upgrade at second base, a position currently shared by Sogard, the left-hander, and the right-handed Grant Green. Sogard would like to make a case for staying the course.
His homer, single and two runs scored will help, although he’s just 11-for-47 (.234) in his last 18 games. However, seven of the 11 hits are for extra bases – five doubles and two homers.
–In the fifth, Sogard opened with an infield single to shortstop. With third baseman Alberto Callaspo playing about even with the base, Crisp decided on his own to drop a bunt down.
He did that. Callaspo charged, fielded the ball and threw it where first baseman Mark Trumbo had no chance to catch it. Sogard scored and Crisp wound up at third, from where he would score on the second of three Moss singles.
“I wasn’t bunting for a hit,’’ Crisp said. “I mean I was, but I was more focused on getting the ball down and moving the runner over. That was the important part of getting the ball down.’’
Manager Bob Melvin called the bunt, and Callaspo’s throwing error that made it 3-0, “the key part of the game.’’
“It’s not usual that Coco will be up there where the third baseman isn’t in,’’ the manager said. “But he wasn’t as close, and Coco went out and made something happen.’’
–That same kind of thought process and effort was behind the double steal by Reddick and Young. The A’s had a four-run lead in the sixth before Reddick singled and Young walked on four pitches, forcing Williams out of the game in favor of Garrett Richards. Sogard struck out, then with Crisp at the plate, Reddick lit out for third and Young for second.
Catcher Chris Iannetta threw wildly past third, giving Reddick a chance to bounce up and race home. Young would score on another Angels’ throwing error later in the inning.
“When the opportunity is there, we’ll push it,’’ Melvin said. “When you’re not swinging great is a good time to push it.’’
–Moss hadn’t been swinging great, and he hadn’t been swinging pretty either, so he decided to do something about that Sunday.
“I’ve been in the cage a lot, and I’m still searching for it,’’ Moss said. “This morning I said to somebody I was just going to go up and try to swing pretty. At least that way I’ll look better up there. Maybe I won’t look silly.
“If I’m going to hit .230, I might as well look good doing it. I was just trying to take good, fluid swings and stayed through some balls instead of trying to do too much, trying to hit a home run on every pitch. I’m not trying to take away my power, but holy crap, at a certain point, you have to do something.’’
Moss said that he’d never had three opposite-field hits in a game and, together with a second-inning pop to shortstop, he’d never hit the ball to the left side four times “in a game in my life. Not ever.’’