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Cespedes’ opposite field homer on cold night impresses A’s

Yoenis Cespedes's opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Yoenis Cespedes’s opposite field power was on display again Friday.

Friday was probably not the night to try and hit home runs at the O.co Coliseum.

The A’s tried anyway. That’s what they do. And they succeeded three times.

And on a night when the wind was blowing and the cool air inhibited the free travel of spheroids, Oakland came away with three homers, enough to account for half the team’s offense in an 8-0 win over Washington.

John Jaso struck first with a solo shot in the second inning. Brandon Moss hit a two-run bomb off Doug Fister on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning. Yoenis Cespedes hit Fister’s next pitch out, giving the A’s back-to-back homers for the first time this year.

The Cespedes homer was probably the least impactful, seeing as it came as the seventh run in a game in which the A’s would see their pitchers allow no runners past second base.

Moss said it wasn’t a good idea to underestimate Cespedes’s homer. The ball was mashed down the right field line – the most difficult spot to hit a home run for a right-handed hitter in a ballpark that doesn’t much care for homers.

“I’m glad somebody could go oppo (opposite field),’’ Moss said. “I tried it (in the third inning) and the guy caught it with one foot on the warning track.’’

Cespedes’s power impresses his teammates, and there seems to be an ever-increasing supply of it. Friday’s homer was his seventh of the season, tied with Josh Donaldson for the team lead, and most of them have come lately.

In Cespedes’ last four starts he’s homered three times. In mid-April he homered three times in five games. The difference is that back in April, he hit just .286 in those games. He’s 5-for-15 (.333) in the last four games, and in his last eight starts he’s at .355 with four doubles and seven RBIs.

“He has the ability to do that,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “When you struggle some like he did at times last year with some injuries and so forth, you want to get it all back and try to pull too much.

“We talked this year about shortening his swing. It’s about him using the whole field and hitting the ball the other way. Your swing is going to be a little bit shorter when you are tracking the ball a little bit further in the strike zone. On a cold night (for him) to hit the ball to right field the opposite way, that’s pretty strong.’’

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.