Melvin on Moss' outburst: 'It was just a matter of time'
John Jaso's two-run double in the fifth gave the A's a 3-0 lead. (AP)
OAKLAND -- They sat and waited their turn. Patiently, not sullenly. And when it came time for them to get a start, the A's forgotten left-handed hitters, sentenced to a baseball purgatory, of sorts, with a run of games against left-handed starting pitchers, responded. With aplomb.
Brandon Moss hit two home runs.
John Jaso doubled off the wall and drive in two runs.
Eric Sogard swiped two bags and scored twice.
Seth Smith was on base all five times.
And the A's, facing a right-handed starter for the first time in six games, and without lead-off hitter Coco Crisp and five-tool threat Yoenis Cespedes due to injury, beat the New York Yankees, 5-2, and reclaimed first place in the American League West by a game over Texas.
Sure, it seemed kind of backwards, but what would you expect a lefty to do?
"Yeah, you want to be in the lineup every day of the week, and it's fine to get some rest, but it felt like two weeks," said Smith, who singled in his first at-bat before walking in his next four plate appearances, a career-high in walks for him.
"We communicate well in here, so we know what our roles are going to be. Being professionals, we remember that we're here to win games."
And not grumble about a lack of playing time, real or perceived. The lefty quartet of Jaso, Smith, Moss and Sogard combined to go six for 11 with two home runs, five RBI, seven walks, two stolen bases and four runs scored.
"They looked like they hadn't missed a beat," A's manager Bob Melvin said of his lefty hitters. "It's a good start, knowing the stretch of right-handers we're about to face."
Indeed, starting Saturday, the A's are projected to face 16 right-handed starters in a row.
Which should make Moss all the more hungry. His second two-homer game of the season, and third of his career, marked just his fourth and fifth hits in 40 at-bats. But get this -- all five hits in that span have been home runs.
"That's impressive," Smith said with a shake of his head. "Different hitters do different things well, and he's really good at hitting home runs."
Moss, who now has 11 homers on the season, also shook it off. His second homer, off a full-count 94-mph Joba Chamberlain offering, came on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, which began with an 0-and-2 count.
"It's not what I want to be, obviously," he said of his all-or-noting results of late. "But if I'm able to contribute and drive in runs when I make contact…that feels good."
How fine, then, is the line between rested and rusty? Jaso laughed.
"It's a fine line, for sure," Jaso said. "You can be on either side of it, really. You just have to stay consistent with your approach when you're not playing. Don't take batting practice like it's a home run derby. Keep the same approach as if you're playing."
Then the game itself becomes a home runs derby…at least, it does for Moss.