Manager Bob Melvin and veteran outfielder Josh Reddick have been around for long enough to know that it’s simplistic to make too much out of one at-bat, one swing.
Yet, Monday offered one of those rare times when Adam Dunn’s two-run home run seemed like so much more. It ignited a five-run rally, energized the sold-out crowd and propelled the A’s to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
“We’ve really been lacking early in games — energy, runs,” Melvin said. “He comes up to the plate, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be something?’ And he delivers. So … you got goose bumps. It was awesome.”
Dunn’s towering blast in his first at-bat with the A’s just cleared the right field fence, but it counted every bit as much as an upper-deck blast.
The A’s knocked Mariners starter Chris Young from the game four batters later, cruised the rest of the game and erased from their mouths the bitterness of a four-game sweep at the hands of the first-place Angels.
The A’s welcomed Dunn into their locker room Monday morning. He ingratiated himself with A’s fans a short time later when he launched his home run.
Reddick was on second base when Dunn batted in the first inning. He said he just remembers a loud sound, a high fly ball and the crowd erupting.
“For a new guy to come over here, it’s something that you want to do,” Reddick said of the home run, “but to actually accomplish it is even bigger. You want to make an instant impact with a new team that’s trying to make a push, and he did that. He got us jump-started. We all just jumped on that train after he got us going.”
Dunn said he couldn’t have scripted his A’s debut any better than it turned out. He added an off-field single, reached on a hit by pitch and endeared himself to an A’s fan base that cheered against him for years.
“That’s the best crowd I ever played for,” Dunn said. “I’m serious. It’s unbelievable. If it’s like that every night here, then it’s going to be a fun little ride.”
Count Hammel among those who is thrilled about Dunn being in an A’s uniform. He said he recalls being victimized by Dunn more than once over the years.
On Monday, Dunn worked on Hammel’s behalf. The five-run rally allowed Hammel to change his approach after only one inning.
“I’m glad I don’t have to face him anymore … ,” Hammel said. “He’s a presence in the lineup. It changes things. I’m not saying anything bad about our (other) guys right now, but he’s a big guy and that’s his thing, to hit homers. To connect on that first at-bat, that’s big. It’s a big confidence booster.”
Hammel said the sizable lead enabled him to go after the Mariners. To that end, he relied mainly upon his fastball and his slider. He lasted eight innings and departed after he allowed only four base runners.
His superb outing lowered his ERA to 2.40 over his past five starts. Hammel started his A’s career with an 0-4 record and 9.53 ERA. The turnaround owes to his slider coming around.
“When your slider disappears for a month, you kind of feel naked out there,” Hammel said. “That’s my go-to (pitch) when I’m in trouble. It finally showed up. I’m throwing it with some confidence.”
– Dunn became the 12th player in franchise history to hit a home run in his first at-bat as a member of the A’s. Dunn added an off-field single and hit by pitch in his A’s debut.
– The A’s snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided matching their longest skid of the season – they lost five straight in mid August.
– The A’s activated shortstop Jed Lowrie (finger) from the 15-day disabled list on Monday. Lowrie collected two hits and played flawless defense.
“He had good at-bats and looked like he had no issues throwing the ball,” Melvin said.
– The A’s promoted three players from Triple-A Sacramento — right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, outfielder Billy Burns and catcher Bryan Anderson.
Anderson was acquired Aug. 24 from Cincinnati in a minor league deal. He is batting .324 combined in 78 games with Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville.
– Melvin said lead-off hitter and centerfielder Coco Crisp “felt OK” after he took swings on the field Monday, Melvin said. Crisp is scheduled to get some injections in his sore neck Tuesday. Crisp’s return to the lineup is uncertain.
– John Jaso took swings in the batting cage Monday, Melvin said. His return is uncertain.
– Closer Sean Doolittle might return from the disabled list as soon as he is eligible to do so, next week, Melvin said.