When the A’s are at their best, it’s tough to pinpoint whom to shine the spotlight on.
Monday’s 8-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins was one of those days. Do you highlight Brandon Moss and his two-run single that keyed a three-run rally in the third inning? Perhaps Yoenis Cespedes and his two RBI? Derek Norris deserves some love for his home run, and Josh Donaldson also showed some offensive life with two hits.
There’s no one player who carries the load on this club, so it bodes well for manager Bob Melvin when his team strings together hits like the A’s were able to in two separate scoring rallies to command an early 5-1 lead.
It’s all about building good vibes for a team that got off to a sluggish offensive start on its season-opening homestand. But it’s also about individually finding a groove for hitters up and down the batting order. The A’s took steps in that direction Monday, the opener of a nine-game road trip that also takes Oakland to Seattle and Anaheim.
[INSTANT REPLAY: A's open road trip with 8-3 win over Twins]
“(That’s what) makes us a great overall ballclub and very deadly down the stretch of a whole season,” Norris told reporters about the team-wide contributions the A’s received Monday.
Josh Reddick, who began the season 2 for 20, lashed an RBI single that gave Oakland a 2-0 lead in the second. Cespedes, after hitting his first homer Sunday, doubled down the left-field line to drive in the A’s first run and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Donaldson, just 3 for 26 on the homestand, finally picked up his first extra-base hit of the season with a double to center in the third.
But all was not rosy in the A’s camp Monday. Center fielder Coco Crisp missed the game after receiving a cortisone shot for a sore wrist. He’ll benefit from Tuesday’s off-day and he’s listed as day-to-day. It was a nagging wrist injury that hindered Crisp for part of last season before he finally got a cortisone shot that remedied the problem. The A’s need the veteran switch hitter atop their lineup to be the offensive catalyst.
Jed Lowrie’s status also merits watching. He left Monday’s game in the seventh inning after being hit in the right knee by a bounced pitch from Twins reliever Samuel Deduno. Lowrie was diagnosed with a contusion on his lower right leg and also is listed as day-to-day. The A’s have a decent fallback plan at shortstop in Nick Punto, but Lowrie is a key man in that batting order, whether he’s batting third or second, as was the case Monday.
Then again, Crisp is a key man too. As is Cespedes … and Donaldson … and Moss … and on down the line. It’s gotta be an ensemble effort if a third consecutive postseason trip is in the cards for the A’s. They’d be wise to repeat Monday’s offensive formula.