Rooker, Aguilar's HR history sparks wild 10-inning win

Duo goes back to back twice in same game for first time in franchise history

April 25th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- The A’s opened a four-game series with an impressive display of power at Angel Stadium by bashing a season-high five home runs through the first three innings of a wild 11-10 victory in 10 innings. and highlighted the early offensive barrage, hitting back-to-back homers in both the first and third innings.

As the losses have piled up early in what has been their worst start to a season in franchise history, it has been difficult for the A’s to avoid the daily reminders of their undesirable historic marks.

Monday’s feat, however, brought history of the good kind.

Rooker and Aguilar produced the first instance on record in franchise history of the same two players hitting back-to-back homers twice in the same game. Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson went back-to-back twice on the same day, though that came once each in both games of a doubleheader against the Tigers on July 7, 1968, at Tiger Stadium.

It was only the fifth time in franchise history that the A’s have hit back-to-back homers twice in the same game at all.

“That is cool,” Rooker said of the accomplishment. “I didn’t realize that until I just heard that right now. This is a very long, storied, successful franchise with a lot of big power hitters, so that’s pretty cool to know. That’s pretty special.”

Frustrated by a lack of big league opportunities over the past five seasons despite posting a .909 OPS with 102 homers throughout the Minors over that stretch, Rooker joined the A’s this offseason hoping 2023 would be the year he finally gets that extended look. An injury to Seth Brown created an opening, and Rooker has seized the moment.

Entering Monday, Rooker was 14-for-37 (.378) over his last 12 games with four homers and 11 RBIs, with his .614 slugging percentage for the season good for eighth best among American League hitters with at least 50 plate appearances. Generating his second multi-homer performance of the season, Rooker is also coming through in big spots, with three of his six homers of the go-ahead variety.

Rooker supplied more than just power against the Angels, too. His patience was also on display in the ninth, tying the game up after drawing a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk.

“The level of success and the numbers I’ve put up so far are even a little past my expectations of myself,” Rooker said. “I knew I could come in every day and contribute and compete at a very high level. That’s all I’m trying to do right now. Let the numbers take care of themselves, and know that if I go up there and keep putting up good at-bats, the numbers will be there in the end.”

After the Angels stormed back from a five-run deficit with five runs in the sixth and Brandon Drury’s go-ahead RBI single in the seventh, the A’s entered the ninth with only a 15.8 percent win probability as they still trailed by a run. Rooker’s clutch walk was preceded by back-to-back walks to and to lead off the inning and a one-out single by .

Noda and Kemp then keyed a three-run 10th with a pair of RBI hits, with  closing out the game on a groundout of Mike Trout with the potential tying and game-winning runs on base for Los Angeles.

“That’s a big one,” Rooker said. “We had the lead and lost the lead. When [the Angels] went up 8-7, it would have been pretty easy with the way things have started for us to just lay down and roll over. We didn’t do that. We haven’t done that all year. … We continue to fight towards the end.”

The wild extra-inning contest featured a combined 21 runs on 27 hits, including seven home runs. The A’s emptied their bench by using every position player available and used four different relievers. Adam Oller worked two scoreless innings against the heart of the Angels’ lineup to send the game to extras.

“A good friend of mine said that you might as well make them memorable,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “That one was pretty memorable. … It could have went the opposite direction, and for these guys to battle and show that fight, this is a great win.”