Swingin’ A’s: Oakland’s Offense Puts On Display During Series Win Over Rays
Entering play on Monday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays were the only undefeated team in Major League Baseball.
Well, things have changed since Monday.
The Oakland Athletics put an emphatic stamp on their successful visit to Tropicana Field during Thursday’s 6-3 win over Tampa Bay.
Thanks to a red-hot offense, the A’s took three-of-four games against an AL East powerhouse Rays team that has posted a .590 winning percentage in three-straight seasons.
Over four games, the Oakland offense posted 31 runs (7.7 runs per contest) while the pitching hurled a 4.00 ERA.
Even though the Athletics dealt away plenty of power in Matt Olson and Matt Chapman during the offseason, Oakland ended play on Thursday in a tie for the second-most home runs in the league (9), second in RBI (36), second in runs scored (42) and fourth in base hits (55).
Arguably the most exciting ‘home run’ thus far this season didn’t even leave the park, as Cristian Pache’s three-run inside-the-park homer proved to be the difference during Thursday’s victory.
The hit was later ruled a double and an error on Rays’ outfielder Randy Arozarena.
Pache, the rookie outfielder that headlined Oakland’s return in the deal that sent Matt Olson to the Atlanta Braves, is off to a strong start over his first seven games in the green and gold. The 23-year-old is batting .303 while showing that he has plenty of pop in his bat and speed in the outfield.
Left-hander Cole Irvin looked solid in his second showing of the season, pitching into the seventh inning while allowing just three runs on five hits.
Oakland kicked things off on Monday with a 13-2 win behind four home runs and an impressive season debut by Paul Blackburn (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 7 K).
Elvis Andrus, Chad Pinder, Seth Brown, and Sheldon Neuse all went deep during the 11-run rout.
The A’s let an early 3-0 lead slip away on Tuesday as Tampa Bay battled back for a walk-off win in extras, but Oakland bounced back with a 4-2 win on Wednesday thanks to 6.1 innings of one-run ball from Frankie Montas.
Oakland’s 4-3 start is the team’s best since starting the 2019 season with the same record. The 2019 A’s went on to win 97 games and clinch an appearance in the American League Wild Card game.
Next up, the A’s will travel across the border for a matchup with old friend Matt Chapman and a very dangerous Toronto Blue Jays team. The three-game series will begin on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
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