Lowrie: 'I'm confident with my swing right now'
Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, and Yoenis Cespedes (above) are tied for the team lead with two home runs apiece. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
HOUSTON, Tex. -- Yoenis Cespedes is 0-for-9 with five strikeouts in this series against the Astros. To make matters worse, he appeared to have tweaked his elbow in his at-bat in the seventh inning. He stayed in the game after trainers checked on him and ended up striking out swinging.
After the game the A's slugger wasn't worried. In fact, he promised things would be just fine.
"I'm going to give you guys a lot of home runs this year," Cespedes proclaimed through interpreter Ariel Prieto.
Cespedes' elbow apparently feels fine. So why the offensive struggles?
"I see the pitches well, but I am a little crazy with my mechanics," he said. "I'm trying to hit the ball ahead instead of letting the ball come in."
-- Fortunately for the A's, their offense has been scoring plenty of runs even with his recent struggles. A's manager Bob Melvin's pass the baton philosophy to offense is working. They don't rely on one guy to carry the load. On Thursday, Josh Reddick drove in four runs. On Friday, Coco Crisp drove in three runs. On Saturday, Jed Lowrie got three hits and drove in a run.
Lowrie, Crisp, and Cespedes are tied for the team lead with two home runs apiece. The A's new shortstop is hitting .476 this season.
"We haven't seen anything different since the first day of spring training, really," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Lowrie. "He swung the bat well from both sides of the plate. On defense he looks like he's in the right spot all of the time. Smart player, he's been terrific for us."
"I feel good right now, and even when I get behind I'm not trying to do to much," Lowrie said.
-- Josh Donaldson is hitting .143 so far this season, but is feeling good at the plate. On Saturday, he got a big two-out RBI hit and he's driven in three runs in his last two games.
"Donaldson's at-bat was the best at-bat of the game," Melvin said. "He gets behind and then works it to 3-2 and hits a slider to right which ends up being a huge hit."
-- A's closer Grant Balfour got his first save of the season on Saturday. He entered the game with a 6-3 lead and struck out one batter in a perfect inning. Balfour is back to full strength after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on February 14.
-- The A's have won four games in a row and can sweep the Astros on Sunday. They will have their ace, Brett Anderson, on the mound.