Boston Red Sox

Stephen Piscotty breaks out of mini-slump with four-hit, five-RBI game

Stephen Piscotty breaks out of mini-slump with four-hit, five-RBI game

OAKLAND – So much for that slow start to the season for Stephen Piscotty.

The A's right fielder exploded for four hits Thursday, including a home run and a double, and five RBI, leading Oakland to a 7-3 win over the Red Sox. The four hits and five RBI both matched career highs for the 28-year-old.

"[I was just looking for] something over the middle," Piscotty said of his three-run home run in the third inning. "In that situation, you want to get something up in the air and drive in that run no matter what. A home run is the best case scenario there. I was just trying to get the ball elevated."

Through his first nine games of the season, Piscotty was only batting .200 with one home run and four RBI. On Thursday, he more than doubled his RBI total and raised his batting average to .282.

"I'm starting to see it a little bit better and my rhythm was good," Piscotty said. "I got a couple of lucky breaks, not gonna lie. But that's baseball. Sometimes they bounce your way, sometimes they don't. I was able to get some good pitches I felt like I could do damage on and just tried to put my best swing on it."

Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "Big day for him. He hits the homer to center. Rodriguez is a tough guy on us. He was one of the few guys who actually had some good at-bats off of him. The homer was huge. Now all of a sudden we're back in the game. ... It ended up being a really nice day for him."

After primarily batting sixth last season, Piscotty has moved up to the number three spot in the A's lineup this year, replacing Jed Lowrie. That would cause many players to start pressing, especially after a slow start, but Piscotty has managed to stay even-keeled throughout.

As for the team, the A's finished off an impressive 6-2 homestand with series victories over both the Angels and Red Sox.

[RELATED: Dallas Braden says to pay attention to Piscotty]

"I'm not going to complain about six out of eight," Melvin said. "Four-game series are hard to win."

"It was a great homestand," added Piscotty. "Winning four-game sets are tough and we did that twice."

A's vs. Red Sox live stream: How to watch Thursday's MLB game online

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NBC Sports California

A's vs. Red Sox live stream: How to watch Thursday's MLB game online

The A's are set to conclude a four-game series against the Red Sox hoping to take 3-of-4. It'll be a battle of left-handers on the mound for the matinee affair in Oakland, with Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez facing off against Oakland's Brett Anderson.

After winning the first two games of the series, the A's fell 6-3 to the Red Sox on Wednesday, as reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts hit a go-ahead double in the 9th inning to give Boston a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Here is the A's lineup for Thursday's series finale, with star third baseman Matt Chapman getting the day off.

[RELATED: Betts offers Barretto advice about moving to Outfield]

Here's how you can watch A's vs. Red Sox on NBC Sports California and streaming online.

When: Thursday, April 4, at 12:37 p.m. PT (pregame at 12:00 p.m.)
TV channel: NBC Sports California
Live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Mookie Betts offers A’s Franklin Barreto advice on moving to outfield

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USATSI

Mookie Betts offers A’s Franklin Barreto advice on moving to outfield

OAKLAND – Mookie Betts has quickly become one of the best outfielders in all of baseball, so it's easy to forget he actually began his career as a second baseman.

That's the path A's prospect Franklin Barreto is looking to follow. Barreto came up as a middle infielder, but Oakland moved him to the outfield this spring, hoping to get him more playing time.

The 23-year-old previously played some outfield in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015 but had only played second base and shortstop with the A's. Similarly, Betts played a little outfield in high school but came up as a middle infielder in the Red Sox organization.

"It's a lot harder than you think it is," Betts said of moving to the outfield. "It's not just going out there and catching the ball. You've got to be willing to work on the craft."

Betts has done that and then some, becoming a three-time Gold Glove winner in the outfield. Of course, his natural athleticism has played a major factor, but he thinks Barreto can succeed in the outfield too.

"You've just got to be willing to work," Betts said. "No position is easy on a major league field. You just have to understand that and do what it takes to be good."

Teams have always valued defensive versatility, but it seems now more than ever, the ability to play multiple positions is essential. Chad Pinder and Mark Canha have proven that for the A's, playing just about every position on the field.

"Obviously, being able to play multiple positions brings value to you," Betts said. "Being that athlete definitely brings some value but you also want to be really good at a spot too."

[RELATED: How Franklin Barreto impressed A's in the outfield during spring training]

It appeared Barreto might finally get his chance to play consistently for the A's when Matt Olson went down with a hand injury last month. But Oakland brought in Kendrys Morales in a trade with Toronto and optioned Barreto down to Triple-A, where he has spent most of the last two seasons.

For now, Barreto will have to remain patient, while continuing to work on his game in Las Vegas. But sooner or later, he'll get his shot.