Rooker's McGwire turn sparks 10-run third, 6th straight win

A's DH matches iconic slugger with rare feat; Rookie Harris also clubs first 2 HRs

May 5th, 2024

OAKLAND -- When it rains, it pours. After an unseasonal rainstorm delayed the start of the A's 20-4 rout of the Marlins by three hours and 23 minutes on Saturday, there was another downpour at the Coliseum in the form of a 10-run third inning for Oakland.

The A's have won six in a row, their longest winning streak since they took seven straight from June 6-13, 2023. At 17-17, their record sits at .500 for the first time since they went 1-1 to open last season.

"It's something that I feel like, out of Spring Training, this club, we needed to have higher expectations of ourselves," manager Mark Kotsay said. ".500's lofty, it is. We talked about that. We still have a ways to go with these younger players … but you're seeing a group that has some confidence right now."

led the charge in the third with a pair of home runs -- a two-run shot off Marlins starter Trevor Rogers that traveled a projected 447 feet, the club's longest homer this season, and a three-run blast off reliever Darren McCaughan. The A's designated hitter also left the yard in Friday's series opener.

Rooker became the first A's player to go deep twice in the same inning since Mark McGwire on Sept. 22, 1996, against the Mariners. Prior to Saturday, Trea Turner most recently accomplished the feat on Aug. 19, 2023, against the Nationals.

"That's very cool," Rooker said of being in the same company as McGwire. "I grew up in Memphis; I grew up a big Cardinals fan, so he was kind of one of the first players that I remember watching during his time there. Being able to do anything the same as him is a huge accomplishment, and something that's really cool for me."

In addition to Rooker's double-barreled power show, JJ Bleday added on with a three-run shot against the team that drafted and developed him, and Abraham Toro drove in two runs on a bases-loaded single. The A's sent 15 batters to the plate in all for the club's first inning with 10 or more runs scored since June 18, 2019, against Baltimore.

Rooker wasn't the only one with a multihomer showing.

Third baseman , the A's No. 9 prospect per MLB Pipeline, also left the yard twice, launching a solo homer for his first career hit in the fourth inning and going deep again for a two-run shot in the sixth.

Still wading through the "about 350" text messages he received after making his Major League debut on Friday, Harris still had plenty of friends and family at the Coliseum on Saturday to see him become the first player in Oakland history to hit home runs for his first two Major League hits.

Harris was able to get both home run balls back, exchanging a bat and meeting the fan who caught the first one. While he's happy to hit the ground running to begin his big league career, he's most excited to join the A's as they continue to buck expectations.

"I don't care if I'm 0-for-4, it doesn't really matter," Harris said. "I just want to win and help this team win. These guys were rolling before I got here, and I got to experience two more wins with them."

Even though Oakland has been competitive since beginning the season 1-7, the team's offense had arguably been the weak link. The A's entered Saturday batting .206, the lowest mark in the Majors, though their 38 homers were tied for fourth.

The long ball was still a big part of Saturday's offensive output, as Bleday and Shea Langeliers also homered, but the A's were able to string hits together as well, going 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

The Marlins' 9-26 record is the third worst in the Majors, so this A's series win may not be quite the same statement as when they went 4-3 against New York and Baltimore on the road.

But for an Oakland club coming off back-to-back 100-plus-loss seasons, it's all about building confidence -- and momentum.

"Being able to kind of put that behind us and just focus on the present and be where our feet are," said starter , who held the Marlins to one run across seven innings. "Everyone in this room has contributed to our success early on this year, and I feel like it shows."