Rosales' home run hustle sparks A's as they halt losing streak

Rosales' home run hustle sparks A's as they halt losing streak

OAKLAND — Running at first base, Trevor Plouffe watched Adam Rosales’ home run play out right in front of him Tuesday night.

Then Plouffe shifted his attention to what was happening behind him.

Rosales is famous for his all-out sprint around the bases after a homer, so as Plouffe leisurely circled the bases on the game-tying two-run blast, he noticed his teammate hot on his trail.

“All of a sudden l’m looking back and he’s sprinting,” Plouffe said. “I tried to hold him up but there was no stopping that guy.”

Rosales isn’t the first guy you'd predict to ignite a struggling offense against Rangers ace Yu Darvish. But with one swing at a 3-1 slider in the sixth, he sent a jolt of energy through the A’s dugout that powered a 4-2 victory and snapped Oakland’s four-game losing streak.

The A’s, trailing 2-0 before the homer, scored all four of their runs in that sixth-inning rally.

“Up to that point, we weren’t even getting good swings let alone driving balls,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Now all of a sudden, it’s 2-2 and momentum’s in our dugout.”

For Rosales, the No. 9 hitter, it was his first homer of 2017 and his first hit in eight at-bats against right-handers this season.

He may have been an unlikely candidate to play hero, but there’s no one the A’s needed more to have a big moment. With Marcus Semien likely lost for two months, at least, after having wrist surgery Tuesday, Rosales goes from jack-of-all-trades utility man to everyday shortstop.

One stroke of injury misfortune, and he goes from playing a supporting role to a starring one. It’s not like he carries a heavy burden to be a big run producer. But Tuesday’s game was a nice way for Rosales to assert himself as a contributor to the A’s after signing a one-year, $1.25 million deal in the offseason.

“Marcus is such a huge part of our team,” the 33-year-old Rosales said. “I know he’s gonna be all right, be back soon. (But) that’s why I’m here, right? To fill that role, and I’m going to do my best at it.”

He’ll do it while displaying the passion and zest for the game that’s marked his 10-year career. It’s a style that Plouffe, playing alongside Rosales for the first time, was well aware of even while in the opposing dugout.

“He’s one of those guys I think everybody knows,” Plouffe said. “That’s his M.O., he’s a hustler. He’s always got a smile on his face. He looks like a kid on a sandlot. That’s not a dig at him. That’s a compliment.”

Even Rosales gets a kick out of it when asked about his home run “trot,” during which it looks like someone triggered a fast-forward button somewhere on his body. As he rounded second Tuesday night, he really began gaining ground on Plouffe, who looked over his shoulder twice and gestured for Rosales to slow down.

“Can you imagine if I hit a grand slam?” Rosales wondered aloud. “They always like to joke around with me, tell me to slow down. Obviously my game won’t let me do that.”

For anyone wondering if Rosales might be in danger of actually passing a teammate on the bases — a runner who passes a teammate ahead of him is ruled out — he says not to worry.

“I always keep at least 10 feet,” Rosales said. “I think that’s the buffer zone.”

 

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

Vogt has that 'rejuvenation feeling' going from A's to first-place Brewers

After five seasons in Oakland, Stephen Vogt begins a new chapter of his career in Milwaukee.

The 32-year-old was designated for assignment by the last-place A's on Thursday and claimed by the first-place Brewers on Sunday.

On Monday, the two-time All-Star catcher discussed his new opportunity with a contender on MLB Network Radio.

"Obviously I was ecstatic to hear I was headed to Milwaukee. We all watch baseball and they are such a fun team to watch right now. And your buddy Eric Sogard is there, so I've got some familiarity. It's an opportunity to win and I think anybody, when you get to the stage I'm in in my career, where I'm 32, I want to win. I'm at the point where that's kind of the goal in the big leagues where all you care about is winning and that's where I'm at. So, to get the news that I'm headed to a first-place team, I couldn't be more excited," Vogt said.

After making the AL All-Star team the last two seasons, Vogt struggled to the tune of a .217 batting average with four home runs and 20 RBI in 54 games.

But with a new team in a new league comes a fresh slate.

"You get that rejuvenation feeling, you get that feeling that this is the change you needed especially going to a winning team where when you're winning, everyone plays better, when you're winning, everyones happier. No matter where you are in life, you want to have that feeling that somebody wants you. So to have Milwaukee come in and say 'We wanted you,' Yeah, it recharged the batteries. I'm ready to go," Vogt said.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's first road sweep of 2017

BOX SCORE

The A’s sprung to life offensively in the late innings Sunday and polished off their first road sweep of 2017.

They scored all five of their runs over the final three innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3, continuing an odd stretch of streakiness. The A’s swept the New York Yankees in four at the Coliseum, then turned around and dropped four in a row to the Houston Astros before arriving in Chicago and taking all three from the Sox. It’s their first sweep on the road since they won four in Kansas City from Sept. 12-15 of last season.

The weekend’s events provided a morale boost for a team that began the series an American League-worst 9-25 away from home. The sweep also featured numerous contributions from a pack of recently promoted young players fresh from the minors.

The A’s had no answer for left-hander Derek Holland through six-plus innings, mustering just four hits off the veteran. But trailing 2-0, they got on the board with Jed Lowrie’s pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. The next inning, Khris Davis singled home the tying run and Yonder Alonso followed with a go-ahead single down the left-field line to put the A’s up 3-2.

They tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers from Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce.

Sonny rebounds: Sonny Gray (3-3) avoided the early trouble that plagued his last start, working seven innings and being rewarded with a victory thanks to the A’s eighth-inning rally. He struck out seven and walked just one. That was a key as Gray had issued seven free passes combined in his previous two starts. Adam Engel hit a 2-1 fastball for a homer in the third, then Jose Abreu scored on a passed ball in the fourth to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. But Gray held the Sox to just four hits over his seven innings.

Sign of things to come? Franklin Barreto got a look as the No. 2 hitter in the order Sunday, a spot that some scouts feel he’ll be well suited for as his career unfolds. He singled to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then struck out looking in his next two trips to the plate. In the eighth, his broken-bat single to left jumpstarted Oakland’s two-run go-ahead rally. Barreto is 4-for-10 in his first two games with the big club.

Joyce provides a lift off the bench: Joyce entered as a pinch runner in the seventh and connected for his 10th homer, right after Rosales had gone deep himself. Joyce became the fourth Athletic to crack double figures in homers, and the A’s improved to 31-26 when they hit at least one home run (they’re 3-16 when they don’t).

Doo does it again: Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle continued to deal since coming off the disabled list. He threw a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and has allowed just one hit over five innings in six appearances since his return.

An unwanted milestone: The Sox scored their second run on a passed ball by Josh Phegley, which accounted for Oakland’s 50th unearned run, most in the majors. They had just 43 unearned runs all of last season.