Matt Olson

Bob Melvin puts A's-Astros brawl blame on Houston coach Alex Cintron

Bob Melvin puts A's-Astros brawl blame on Houston coach Alex Cintron

The benches cleared when A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano appeared to hear something Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón said coming out of the visitor’s dugout during the A’s 7-2 win on Sunday

Laureano was hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos in the bottom of the seventh inning. When Laureano got to first base, Cintrón said something to him from the dugout. That’s when madness ensued. 

Laureano and A’s catcher Austin Allen were ejected from the game, but no members of the Astros were thrown out.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said Laureano would have never gone over to the Astros dugout unless something extremely offensive was said. 

“I think the league will know who it is, and that person should get suspended,” Melvin told reporters after the game. “Hopefully that’s the case, and nowadays without fans in the stands, and mics everywhere, my guess is they know who he is.” 

Melvin was asked what was said to Laureano.

“I can't tell you that,” Melvin said. 

Melvin was confused why Allen was ejected and nobody from the Astros was ejected despite the incident happening in front of the Houston dugout. 

“I don’t know how we ended up getting a couple guys kicked out and it kind of came out of their dugout and I don’t understand it, it’s just how it worked out,” Melvin said.

A’s first baseman Matt Olson was on deck when it happened and rushed over to defend Laureano. Matt Chapman joined him. Olson said he didn’t want it to be a situation where it was Laureano against the entire Astros team.

“[Laureano] was hit a lot, I know it was a curveball, but when he started going down the line, we heard that things were said that weren’t right to him, and maybe someone even told him to come over to the dugout, so I think he was definitely provoked a little bit,” Olson said.

Laureano had been hit twice by pitches Sunday. The first one occurred earlier by Brandon Bailey in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bailey had been traded by the A’s to the Astros in 2017 for Laureano.

Olson admitted there was a lot of chatter going back and forth, so he wasn’t sure exactly what was said.

For now, Laureano and Allen were the only two ejected from the game, but soon we will find out if there is further discipline for others involved. 

[RELATED: FanGraphs has A's almost guaranteed lock in postseason]

For reference, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly had been suspended for eight games after throwing a fastball behind Astros’ Alex Bregman and another ball above the head of Carlos Correa on July 28. 

Melvin said while he didn’t talk to everyone right after the game, the clubhouse appeared to have the same mindset as he did that Laureano was provoked.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 win vs. rival Rangers

A's takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 win vs. rival Rangers

BOX SCORE

The A’s swept the Texas Rangers on Thursday, increasing their winning streak to six games with a 6-4 victory at the Coliseum.

Two-time All-Star Todd Frazier had his third straight 2-for-4 day at the plate, but the A's were even better on offense. Oakland scored six runs for the second straight game, and the A's built on the strong defense and bullpen performances we've seen over the past week.

Here’s what you might've missed in Thursday’s win.

‘Stache Olson

When Matt Olson arrived at media availability on Thursday, a couple of reporters didn’t recognize him. That’s mostly because of the brand-new mustache he’s sporting.

And it’s not going anywhere.

On Thursday, Olson crushed a ball into deep right center in the bottom of the second inning to put the A’s on the board.

Since the moment the facial hair sprouted, Olson has been on a tear. That began in Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Rangers, when Olson had his eighth career game with two homers.

A’s manager Bob Melvin approves of it, Olson told reporters it wasn’t going anywhere and his teammates also respect the ‘stache.


Bullpen remains a chef’s kiss

I'm not sure how Yusmeiro Petit does it, but he managed to get himself in a pickle with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth. He got the two outs he needed, thanks to an Anderson Tejeda infield fly and then a Robinson Chirinos strikeout.

Only Petit can get out of such chaotic situations so calmly.

Petit and the rest of the A's bullpen had a 1.90 ERA heading into the game, and none of Oakland's relievers allowed any runs Thursday.

[RELATED: Kaval explains A's reasoning behind lawsuit against DTSC]

Khris Davis’ power never left

Davis had a pretty solid outing at the plate Thursday, and his power certainly showed even though he didn't homer. The slugger went 2-for-3, and his lineout to shortstop had an exit velocity of 105.3 mph, That was hit harder than Olson’s homer in the second.

This was also Davis’ second multi-hit game of the season.

Melvin mentioned hitting coach Darren Bush was working with Davis on some adjustments with his hands after a slow start to the season. It appeared to be a timing issue, and it looks like Davis finally is figuring things out.

The power was always there, but it’s the production that has started to come back.

Jesus Luzardo's starting debut beginning of something special for A's

Jesus Luzardo's starting debut beginning of something special for A's

Jesus Luzardo's first career MLB start ended in grand fashion -- literally. After tossing five scoreless innings in an eventual 5-1 walk-off win over the Texas Rangers, A's manager Bob Melvin was effusive in his praise of the rookie left-hander.

"He was terrific," Melvin said. "Comes as advertised. Three plus-plus pitches. Great velocity, great movement. Terrific athlete as you saw the play he makes on the mound. So, really good start for him for his first big league start."

Luzardo used that arsenal of pitches to keep the Rangers hitters off balance, allowing just two hits while striking out five. He had to find his own balance at one point in the second inning after Scott Heineman hit a high chopper that bounced right off of home plate.

He tracked the ball over his shoulder, gloved it in no-man's land behind the mound and fired an off-balanced strike to Matt Olson to end the inning. It was the only play to be made, and Luzardo made it look fairly easy.

It was anything but.

"It was extremely difficult," Luzardo said after the win. "I don't know how I did it."

In Luzardo's most recent relief appearance last Wednesday, he made an errant throw to first after knocking down a comebacker, allowing two runs to score in an eventual 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies. He was relieved to put that in the past with his standout defensive play Tuesday.

"I'm glad I was able to do that and finally kind of get last outing's mistake and be able to focus on this one and get that (pitchers' fielding practice) under my belt," Luzardo continued.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

He showed tremendous poise on the play, a theme throughout his starting debut. When asked if he had to say anything to Luzardo leading up to the game to calm his nerves, Melvin explained that wasn't necessary.

"Ha, no," Melvin said with a chuckle. "I don't have much to say to him. He has got a smile on his face, you'd never know it was the day he was pitching. It's his first big league start. Certainly, if there were nerves, he didn't show it. A lot of times the nerves will show up in the first inning and it was anything but. 

"Just throwing bullets. Good changeup, good breaking ball right away. He's special in the fact that he has a lot of confidence at a young age, and if I had that kind of stuff I probably would too."

[RELATED: Piscotty's walk-off grand slam vs. Rangers makes A's history]

Though all seemed quiet on the surface, Luzardo admitted he was somewhat nervous earlier in the day. But once he got into his element, that all disappeared.

"Definitely coming into the game, like leading up to it this morning, I was definitely nervous," Luzardo said. "Just typical nerves. I feel like I get nervous or butterflies before every time I pitch. But once I started getting my routine and once I was out there on the field, even warming up in the bullpen, all that stuff was gone for me."

Luzardo's first career start could not have gone much better. It was worth the wait and looked like the beginning of something special.