Derek Norris’s power numbers skyrocket with multiple men on base
Derek Norris doesn’t expect to hit home runs in the kinds of numbers that Josh Donaldson or Brandon Moss might put up.
He does expect that his home runs will have an impact. Time and again, they have, including Saturday when he capped a 9-4 A’s win over the Twins with a three-run homer in the sixth inning.
The score when he hit it was 6-2, and the extra three runs that made the differential seven runs was vitally important to the A’s in cruising home in this one.
It was the seventh time this year he’s hit a home run with at least two men on base. Three-run homers and grand slams are game-changers, and Norris has those locked in.
Jeff Samardzija got bailed out by A’s offense Friday against Baltimore
For most of Friday night, you could forgive Jeff Samardzija if he’d started to wonder where this vaunted A’s offense he’d heard about had gone to.
With the Cubs, for whom he made his first 17 starts, Samardzija knew he wasn’t going to get much offense.
It’s not supposed to be like that with the A’s, who have scored more runs than 28 of the other 29 big league teams.
But Oakland got him four runs his first time out, just two runs in his second start and the A’s had just two runs through eight innings Friday before Josh Donaldson turned that around with a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Samardzija was in the clubhouse when he saw it. What followed next, creation of the walkoff tunnel down the third base line, the pie in Donaldson’s face and the dumping of the Gatorade container, is something that Samardzija could get used to.
Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes are big parts of A’s muscle machine.
T-shirt fads come and go in baseball clubhouses, and another one may have arrived in the Coliseum Friday.
As they came off the field after batting practice, A’s sluggers Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes each were presented with a green shirt with the letters “RUN DMC’’ stacked. Above “RUN’’ in smaller type was the word “Home’’ and under “DMC’’ were the letters 20 37 and 52.
Those are the jersey numbers of, in order, Donaldson, Moss and Cespedes, the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the A’s lineup most nights and to whom the “DMC’’ refers in the local spinoff of the 1980s hip-hop legends.
#A’s Jed Lowrie is just waiting for his luck to turn.
Jed Lowrie drove in the A’s only run Tuesday with a sacrifice fly.
Beyond that, the Oakland shortstop went hitless in four at-bats and is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats.
Josh Donaldson went hitless in all six of his plate trips Tuesday for the A’s and is now hitless in his last 21 at-bats.
There is a difference, though.
Lowrie seems to be hitting in tough luck. Donaldson is in one of those hitless streaks that batters get into from time to time when it seems as if they might never emerge.
Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri had a few choice words for the A’s Sunday, calling them “lucky’’ and saying the Angels were going to beat them this week in a three-game series in Anaheim.
Well, Frieri got off to a good start Monday with a 4-1 Angels’ win in which he struck out the side in the ninth for his 11th save.
After that he sounded contrite when talking about Oakland.
“It was a misunderstanding,’’ Frieri said. “I’m sorry if I offended anybody. I respect the Oakland A’s, they’ve been playing really good baseball. But at the same time, I have confidence in my team. I knew we were going to play better baseball.
Josh Donaldson’s good glove work was in evidence in Baltimore again Sunday.
Donaldson was all smiles after Sunday’s game in Camden Yards, and you might think that a bit odd given that the A’s third baseman went 0-for-5, including grounding out twice with the bases loaded.
In all, Donaldson came up with eight men on base in the first five innings and drove exactly none of them in.
It wasn’t like Saturday, when he struck out in every one of his four at-bats, a new career worst, but it wasn’t a day you write home about.
“It’s just two games,’’ Donaldson said. “It’s a long season. It’s no big deal. Things are fine.’’
After catching a strong throw from Brandon Moss, Derek Norris tagged Orioles Nick Markasis at plate to extend Friday’s game to 11th inning, when A’s won, 4-3
On the All-Star ballot, Brandon Moss is listed as a designated hitter.
On the A’s lineup card most days, Moss is listed as a first baseman.
So it’s easy to forget that Moss began his baseball life as an outfielder.
The Baltimore Orioles won’t soon forget, not after Friday night, when Moss threw a bullet from right field to the plate, enabling Derek Norris to tag out the sliding Nick Markakis, thereby denying the Orioles a 10th inning win.
The A’s went on to win the game 4-3 in the 11th, when Moss, as he does from time to time, struck out.
“I’m not a great outfielder as far as range and stuff,’’ Moss said. “But people don’t remember that I have a real good arm. That’s really my only defensive tool, but I’ve always had a real good arm. And when you don’t play the outfield a lot, and you play first base, people don’t remember.’’
Josh Donaldson said he thought he’d just made a normal tag, but Manny Machado of Orioles disagreed.
No one was more surprised than Josh Donaldson when Manny Machado jumped up, got in his face and started yelling.
Donaldson had just tagged out Machado for the final out of the third inning. The A’s third baseman had the option to throw to first base, of course, but Machado was right there.
When Donaldson reached out for him, Machado tried to jump out of the way, lost his balance and fell. As he was falling, Machado took off his batting helmet and threw it.
“All I know is I just tried to tag the guy,’’ Donaldson said. “I was actually walking over to pick up his helmet for him and he jumps up and starts yelling. I have nothing against the kid. I don’t understand where it came from.’’
Josh Donaldson said there was a plan behind his eighth-inning bunt Thursday.
It was a move Josh Donaldson designed to fool the Yankees.
It fooled some of the A’s, too, when Donaldson tried to bunt in the eighth inning, batting with two on, no one out and Oakland down 2-1.
Donaldson had been hitless in his first three at-bats, and he looked to see the New York defense was deep and hoping for the double play.
So Donaldson squared around and didn’t get the bunt he wanted. The ball flicked off his bat and almost carried into the second deck of seats behind the plate at Yankee Stadium.
“They were playing me way back,’’ Donaldson said. “I knew the situation; I wasn’t just trying to move the runners over. I was trying to bunt for a hit in that situation.’’
He’d need to get one, because the A’s don’t particularly want their RBI co-leader (49) not to take his best shot. And they don’t want a bunt in that situation unless it’s a hit because with first base open, the Yankees could have walked the team’s other 49-RBI man, Brandon Moss.
Brandon Moss has become an extra-base machine.
Brandon Moss is doing nothing that Josh Donaldson hasn’t seen before.
Moss hit two home runs Tuesday and has tied Donaldson for the A’s team lead in both major power categories with 15 homers and 48 RBIs.
Donaldson recalled seeing Moss for the first time in the spring of 2012, a non-roster outfielder who’d been signed to a minor league contract the previous November.
“I watched him swing in batting practice, and he was hitting balls farther than anybody,’’ Donaldson said. “I was thinking to myself, this guy can really hit.’’
Donaldson saw more of that power during short stops early that season with Triple-A Sacramento, but it was Moss’ recall from the River Cats that sticks with Donaldson.