ANAHEIM -- Before an 8-3 lead morphed into an agonizing 10-8 loss at Angel Stadium on Wednesday evening, a young A's team -- swept out of Anaheim in three games this week -- showed encouraging signs at the plate.The bullpen's seventh-inning mishaps, which included Chris Hatcher's grand slam offering to
ANAHEIM -- Before an 8-3 lead morphed into an agonizing 10-8 loss at Angel Stadium on Wednesday evening, a young A's team -- swept out of Anaheim in three games this week -- showed encouraging signs at the plate.
The bullpen's seventh-inning mishaps, which included Chris Hatcher's grand slam offering to Cliff Pennington, will surely define this one. But wins and losses only hold so much weight right now for these A's, who are riding a youth movement into the offseason and beyond.
The future could be bright with more innings like Wednesday's eight-run fourth, which not only featured a pair of home runs from Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell, but hits with runners in scoring position, which have been lacking of late.
After Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis drew walks to open the frame against Angels starter Parker Bridwell, Matt Joyce delivered an RBI single, marking just the second Oakland hit with runners in scoring position in this series, spanning 14 tries to that point. Ryon Healy followed suit with his own run-scoring single, setting the stage for Olson's second home run in as many days and 11th in just 37 games.
Maxwell's two-run homer was his first since July 6, sending Bridwell out of the game, and Lowrie capped the frame with an RBI single, giving the A's a season-high eight runs in a single inning.
"We haven't been doing very well with runners in scoring position, so being able to have that double from Joyce to kind of keep everything rolling and keep guys on base and feed off of each other, I think that's a momentum booster," Maxwell said. "When everybody's clicking on this team, it shows what we could possibly do, not just for an entire inning or an entire game but for an entire season."
The A's entered the game batting .174 with runners in scoring position over their previous 12 games. They had four hits with runners in scoring position on Wednesday.
"That's the positive part of it, and we have to keep our spirits up," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Our record isn't great, but we're getting a lot of guys experience, and they're doing well with it. There are a lot of good things, we just couldn't finish it out."
Maxwell also doubled to lead off the sixth but was stranded at second base, giving him four multi-hit games over his last seven contests, going 9-for-22 in that span.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.