A's bash way to new single-season HR mark

Fiers feels 'great' after early exit on Saturday

September 16th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- It's anyone's guess how the Rangers' new home, Globe Life Field, will play once it opens in 2020. The addition of a retractable roof will undoubtedly add a level of comfort for players and fans that has been absent during the 26 years the Rangers have played in their open-air facility, but no one really knows if a less hot and humid environment will help temper the offense that is a staple of the baseball experience at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers have only a few games remaining until it's time to shutter their current home and prepare to move into their new one. The A's were under no pressure entering their series finale on Sunday to try to put together one last offensive bonanza in the hitter-friendly ballpark, but, heck, why not take advantage of the opportunity, as long as they're there?

By the time they ended their 6-1 win over the Rangers, they had indeed made history. 's two-run homer in the third inning tied the club’s all-time single-season home run record, and 's 415-foot solo shot to straightaway center in the ninth put the A's over the edge. The 2019 A’s have 244 homers, one better than the 1996 club.

According to Chapman, the players did not know they were within two homers of the record when the game started, which means he had no idea he was the official history maker when he rounded the bases in the ninth.

“I think that means a lot for our whole team in general,” Chapman said. “To be able to take that record, with an organization that's had Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco and guys like that, it just shows we have a lot of good players on our team.”

The A's have already reached several homer records. They set a team mark for the most players with 20 or more homers (seven), and Semien’s shot Sunday brought his season total to 30, tying the club mark for the most players -- three -- with at least 30 long balls. , and were the last trio to do this, in 2001.

Semien is the first Oakland shortstop with a 30-homer season since Tejada had 34 in 2002, and he also has 28 homers from the leadoff spot, which is tied with , who reached that number in 1990.

“Thirty home runs for Marcus -- I don't even know what to say about that,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Leading off, and what he does defensively, the numbers he's putting up, his leadership.”

Fiers improving

is still on track to have his arm examined by team doctors when the A's return to Oakland on Monday, but he's also tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session that day. That would suggest the numbness in his hand that forced him from his start in the second inning of Saturday's 8-6 win is manageable, and may not sideline him moving forward.

"He feels OK today," Melvin said. "This is something he's felt in the past. Sometimes it just kind of nicks him. You get a stinger and get some numbness, and hopefully it goes away. I think he's at least potentially on schedule to throw his bullpen [Monday]. Certainly the visit with the doctor will dictate whether he does or not."

Fiers, the A's No. 1 pitcher, was officially diagnosed with right arm nerve irritation following his early exit Saturday. He's experienced numbness in his hand on at least two other occasions this season. On Sunday, he said he felt "great."

"Hopefully it doesn't come up in my bullpen or next game," he said. "The test [the doctor] ran himself [on Saturday], he feels it's nothing serious. I need to pitch and I need to get ready for the playoffs."