In the span of less than 10 minutes on Sunday, Ramon Laureano single-handedly won the Athletics’ series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.
For his first act in the eighth inning, Laureano ran down a fly ball at the center field wall to deny DJ Stewart a go-ahead extra-base hit. For his second act, Laureano mashed a no-doubt two-run dinger to right center to propel the A’s to a scintillating 7-5 win.
So was that the best inning of Laureano’s career?
“That’s a good question,” Laureano said in his postgame video conference. “I need to go home and analyze it. I really don’t know. It’s hard for me to reflect during the season. But it’s pretty up there.”
Laureano has had some electric moments during his three-plus seasons in the green and gold, but Sunday’s display was otherworldly. Laureano also brings a fiery passion to his play that can spark the A’s, who are led by players who bring a more focused intensity -- guys like Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie and Mark Canha.
Check out Laureano’s fist pump once he popped off the warning track with the fly ball to end the eighth inning.
That was just the beginning.
Orioles relievers got two quick outs to begin the bottom of the eighth, before Canha singled and Laureano delivered the game-winner, pumping up the dugout as he rounded the bases.
“It’s pretty fitting of the baseball gods bestow their power upon Ramon,” A’s starter Sean Manaea said.
Naturally, Laureano played it cool after the game, carrying his usual ho-hum attitude while talking with NBC Sports California’s Dallas Braden.
Laureano finished the day 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. He’s riding a five-game hitting streak and has notched a base knock in nine of the past 10.
The explosive outfielder hasn’t stolen a base since April 13, after racking up eight in his first nine games of the year, but used his legs to produce the first run of the game Sunday as well. After Ramon Urias bobbled a relay throw in the first inning on an Olson single, Laureano kept running and made his way to the plate to score.
The play also allowed Olson to move to third base and set up an RBI single by Lowrie later in the inning.
“The guy is a human highlight reel,” Manaea said.
Laureano totes a .233/.301/.456 slash line this year with five homers and 12 RBIs, so the A’s would like to get see him on base more. But Laser Ramon showed off his eye-popping skillset that makes him one of the most exciting players in the game today.
“That’s just taking over a game,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s taking away two [runs] and giving you two [runs]. I don’t know what the criteria is for WAR. But if that’s not a one WAR on its own in two plays, I don’t know what is. That’s pretty dramatic stuff.”