Vogt: 'You make the defense stop you'
Stephen Vogt, 6-foot and 215 pounds, scored from first on Eric Sogard's seventh-inning double. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- At the crack of the bat, Stephen Vogt was off.
There were two out and Vogt was taking a lead off first base when Eric Sogard turned on an 0-and-1, 91-mph offering from Justin Masterson and powerfully pulled the pitch into the right-field corner in the seventh inning.
So yeah, the A's pulled out a 3-2 victory over Cleveland on Friday night thanks to a catcher rumbling around the basepaths to score from first on a ball absolutely crushed by the scrawniest, ahem, nerdiest guy on Oakland's roster.
[RECAP: A's 3, Indians 2]
That's just how the A's roll.
"When a pitcher like that leaves one over the plate," Sogard said, "I'm just glad I didn't miss it."
He hasn't missed much of anything lately. Since the All-Star break, Sogard is batting .315 with 12 RBI in 22 games.
And when Vogt starts behind the plate, the A's are now 13-5.
But it wasn't as simple as Sogard simply stepping up…again, and Vogt's name being scribbled into the starting lineup. A's third-base coach Mike Gallego played a part, too, his windmill arm not letting Vogt break stride as he rounded third on his way to home plate and the game-winning run. So let the back-handed compliments begin.
"Dude runs well for a catcher," said Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis.
"I hit it and wanted to let him use his wheels," Sogard said with a smile. "He can run for a catcher."
Said Vogt: "I can run a little bit, for your stereotypical catcher."
Fair enough, Vogt has also played outfield and first base in his professional career so his legs are not completely shot from spending so much time in the squat. So, with two down, Vogt was running on the crack of Sogard's bat.
"I was running to score," Vogt said, "not running to get to third.
"I just put my head down and ran."
It was in the Tampa Bay organization, from which Vogt was acquired this season, where he adopted a specific mantra about running the bases: Make the defense stop you. So yeah, while it would not have necessarily taken a perfect throw to get Vogt at home, the relay throw from Kipnis was well up the third-base line, and Vogt scored relatively easy.
And that was part of Sogard's plan.
Sogard, you see, had second base easily but kept going to third in an effort to draw a throw. His thinking? The relay to third would have allowed Vogt to score…so long as he crossed home before Sogard was potentially thrown out at third to end the inning.
The strategy worked…kinda.
"I knew it was going to be a close play," said Sogard, his left shin still wrapped from taking a shot off Chris Carter's broken-bat line out on Thursday.
So you wonder how much his shin stung when Sogard slid into third and was thrown out nonetheless on your typical 9-4-2-5 relay, with Drew Stubbs, Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall conspiring to quell Nerd Power.
Turns out, with Vogt scoring anyway, it didn't hurt at all. At least, not in the aftermath of a victory.