A’s: Sogard a bit of an intimidator at the plate these days

Eric Sogard surprised himself and everyone else with four walks Saturday night.

Eric Sogard surprised himself and everyone else with four walks Saturday night.

Second baseman (and sometimes shortstop) Eric Sogard has been hitting up a storm since the All-Star break, but not even he expected what happened Saturday night – walks in his first four plate trips.

He was batting ninth, and he became just the 14th No.9 hitter since 1914 to draw four walks in a game.

“I must have looked intimidating,’’ Sogard said, laughing. “If I’d known that 1914 thing, I might have looked at a couple more pitches in my last at-bat.’’

Sogard, who said “three walks was probably my max,’’ bounced back to the pitcher in his final plate trip in the eighth inning of the A’s 9-4 win. He’d never walked more than twice in a game this year and his career best was three walk against the cardinals on June 28, 2013.

The first of his walks led to a three-run second inning, which is something Melvin can appreciate.

“There’s more that goes into it,’’ Melvin said. “You’re making the pitcher work some, making him throw a lot of pitches.’’

Sogard had been making pitchers work plenty of late. He was hitting .186 and getting pushed out of the rotation at second base before the All-Star break, but since getting those four days off, he’s hitting .325 with 13 runs scored. He’d scored just 18 runs in the entire first half.

Even during his down times in the first half, Sogard said that although he didn’t know why, he’d always been a better hitter in the second half. And that scenario is playing itself out again as he’s pushed his average up to .214.

“I really don’t have any idea, but it’s a long season,’’ Sogard said. “You get the time off at the break, you let your mind and your body relax, then you come back and turn it up.’’

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.