Instant Analysis: Olson homers for fourth straight game, A's beat Tigers
OLSON POWERS A'S PAST TIGERS
The A’s continued a nice late-season roll Monday night, and in doing so they overcame some adversity before the game even began.
Scheduled starter Jharel Cotton was scratched roughly 10 minutes before first pitch against the Detroit Tigers with a strained right groin, apparently suffered while going through his pregame preparations. Long reliever Raul Alcantara started on short notice and performed admirably, and rookie first baseman Matt Olson homered for the fourth consecutive game as the A’s rolled 8-3 in the opener of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Oakland has won nine of its past 12 and is 4-3 on this nine-game road trip. If you’re keeping track, the A’s are also 9-8 in September. That’s noteworthy as they’re looking to break an Oakland-record string of 10 consecutive months with a losing record.
Olson’s ridiculous stretch of power hitting continues. He’s tied an Oakland rookie record by homering in four consecutive games. He’s now got 22 homers on the season, which ties Mark McGwire for the franchise record for most homers in the first 65 games of a career. To break it down further, Olson has gone deep 11 times in his past 15 games, and 14 times over his past 20. His 18 homers since the All-Star break are tied with Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins for the most among major league rookies.
DELIVERING ON SHORT NOTICE:
With Cotton unavailable and possibly out for the rest of the season, Alcantara was called upon on short notice and gave the A’s everything they could have realistically hoped for — 3 2/3 scoreless innings. That should serve as a confidence boost for a pitcher who won a spot in the season-opening rotation but was quickly demoted to the bullpen and sent to the minors shortly after.
Manager Bob Melvin had to know going in that he’d rely on his bullpen heavily in this one. The ‘pen responded, as Simon Castro, Liam Hendriks, Santiago Casilla, Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen combined for 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball. Detroit scored twice off Castro in the fifth, when the A’s were up already 7-0. Casilla gave up Ian Kinsler’s homer in the seventh. But the relief corps delivered on a night they shouldered big load.
LOADED STAT SHEET:
Jed Lowrie drove in three runs and set a career high with his 46th double to pace Oakland’s offense. Matt Joyce had three hits and Chad Pinder drove in two runs as did Olson. Leadoff man Marcus Semien scored three times.