Lowrie: 'It's a good win against a guy like Price'
Jed Lowrie hit an Oakland-record 13 doubles in August and has a franchise-record for switch hitters with 40 doubles this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Kurt Suzuki knows Jed Lowrie going back to their college days, when Suzuki was starring at Cal State Fullerton and Lowrie was at Stanford.
Now Suzuki is getting a fresh reminder of just how valuable his A’s teammate is.
“That guy’s clutch,” Suzuki said. “In the week I’ve been here, that guy gets clutch hit after clutch hit. He plays great defense. Shoot, he’s a great ballplayer.”
It’s tough for a player putting up Lowrie’s numbers to fly under the radar, but that was the reality coming into Friday. Brandon Moss went off in Detroit, hitting four homers with 10 RBI in four games. The A’s, as a team, created a buzz by lashing out a whopping 52 hits in the series.
But the switch-hitting Lowrie is dialed in right now as the A’s No. 3 hitter. He’s 20-for-50 (.400) with nine doubles, two triples, nine RBI and 10 runs during a career-high 12-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the American League.
His production is important as a link between the damage Coco Crisp is starting to do in the leadoff spot and what Moss has done in the cleanup role (though Moss most recently hit eighth against lefty David Price).
Lowrie ripped a go-ahead double down the right-field line to score the winning run in the A’s 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday.
[RECAP: A's 4, Rays 3]
“It hasn’t flown under the radar for us,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Lowrie’s production. “He’s gotten big hits for us. In that ‘3’ hole, he’s not going to hit a ton of homers but he’s gonna get big hits, knock in big runs.
“With (Josh Donaldson) in the ‘2’ hole now, it seems like he’s getting some more guys on in front of him. But he’s able to really think clearly in big at-bats late in games and has a very good idea of how he’s gonna be pitched.”
Lowrie, in his first season with the A’s, is hitting .293 with 10 homers and 58 RBI. He ranks second in the AL with 40 doubles, a franchise record for switch hitters. Friday’s game-winning double was his major league-leading 13th two-bagger in August. That also set a new Oakland record for most doubles in August.
Lowrie’s defense has received some deserved scrutiny this year. His 15 errors entering Friday were tied for second among all AL infielders and his range at shortstop leaves something to be desired. But he made a key play in the top of the ninth Friday, scooping Daric Barton’s short-hop throw to second to get a force-out as the A’s clung to a one-run lead.
The A’s signed Japanese star Hiroyuki Nakajima in the offseason, envisioning him as their starting shortstop. Nakajima has remained at Triple-A all season. Lowrie, also obtained last offseason in a trade from Houston, has settled in at short and he’s making a difference with his bat.
“I said at the beginning of the year, people asked me what kind of player I am, I said I’m a doubles hitter,” Lowrie said. “And if I get (a hold of) one, it’s gonna go out.”