It had been less than two weeks since the last time Coco Crisp had been in the A’s starting lineup.
Quite a lot has happened in that seven-game interval. The A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. The Angels have crept closer in the standings. The Oakland offense had stalled. Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays doesn’t change all of that. It does modify it some, though.
The offense is still struggling, but it was Crisp who came up in the fifth inning, looked for the biggest whole on the infield and guided the ball into right-center field for the game’s first RBI.
“I was (trying to guide it),’’ Crisp said. “I was, and sometimes it works. Sometime not, but this time it did.’’
The A’s have been trying to fend the Angels off for three weeks now. It hasn’t been easy. Oakland came in Tuesday with just a one-game lead in the American League West despite having the best record in baseball.
Oakland doubled that lead by beating the Rays while the Angels lost 5-4 to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
“It felt good to be out there again,’’ Crisp said. “It’s always a good feeling to be able to join the team in a victory instead of just watching them, you know what I mean? I’ll take both of them, obviously, but it’s nice to be back on the field and participating.’’
Crisp was the DH Tuesday with manager Bob Melvin saying after the game “it’s a relief’’ to have the club’s leadoff hitter back where he belongs. In Wednesday’s series finale, Crisp will be the center fielder, too.
“He gives us a little more sizzle,’’ the manager said.
It seems that the neck problems for which he had some injections last week are not an issue for the moment.
“Whatever they want me to do is fine with me,’’ Crisp said.