Otero had bigger things in mind for first homer allowed

Dan Otero had never allowed a big league homer before Sunday.

Dan Otero had never allowed a big league homer before Sunday.

One thing Dan Otero knew for sure was that he hadn’t ever allowed a home run in a major-league game.

Now he knows a second thing for sure.

“I never should have thrown the pitch,’’ Otero said of his first throw to Jose Altuve in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Astros.

Altuve, all 5-foot-5 of him, took a big hack and launch the ball 346 feet, about one foot farther than need to record his first home run of the season.

It ended Otero’s major-league best streak of 63.2 innings to start his career without having allowed a long ball.

“”I knew I’d never given one up, of course’’ Otero said.  “What I didn’t know was exactly how many innings it was. It had been a long time.

The A’s would have been surprised if Altuve had merely hit allowed foul ball. That’s how used they’ve become to Otero being the master of the situation.

Not only has he spent the last year plus avoiding home runs, but he’s proven to be one of the most consistently little reliable middle and setup relievers in the game.

He came into Sunday with a 0.73 ERA for the season and a 2.12 ERA for his career.

And he had certain expectations where the inevitable first home run was concerned.

“If it was going to go, it should have gone 800 feet,’’ he said. “I don’t mind if it (Albert) Pujols, but now I’ve got to say the first one was hit by a guy who is 5-foot-4.’’

Altuve, a second baseman, is listed at 5-foot-5, but Otero’s point was made. He simply thought the first homer, whenever it came, would have come off the bat of a more prodigious offensive force.

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.