Coco Crisp was back in the lineup in center field for the A’s Friday, and it was as if he’d never been away.
He played, he contributed and Oakland won, 11-1.
Crisp struck out in his first at-bat, but he walked his second and third times up, and his speed running to first force a throwing error on the Cleveland defense his fourth time to the plate. He scored once and the A’s won for the seventh time in eight games.
Six of the seven wins came when Crisp was on the bench, out of action after running into a wall on defense.
Crisp said he was proud of the way the team plays, not only when he’s not in the lineup but whenever anybody who should be playing can’t for one reason or another.
“We’ve got a good team, you know,’’ Crisp said. “One through nine (in the batting order), that’s what we do. Everybody here is a one-through-nine guy.’’
Manager Bob Melvin said that Crisp was ready to go without being held back at all. Even so, he took his center fielder out of the game after seven innings. No reason to be reckless with Oakland holding a 10-run lead.
Before the game Melvin talked about how important Crisp is to the A’s way of doing things. And while Oakland is just 14-11 in Crisp’s starts this year, that’s a small sample size. Since the start of the 2012 season, a period that includes back-to-back American League West titles, the A’s are 168-110 when Crisp starts.
When he doesn’t start, they are just 48-40.
“It’s very much (a boost),’’ Melvin said of Crisp’s return to the lineup. “When you look at the record, (Yoenis) Cespedes and Coco are guys who have a very direct impact.’’
For the record, the A’s are 24-12 with Cespedes in the lineup this year, 2-4 when he doesn’t start and are 188-108 in the games he’s started since 2012.