OAKLAND -- With all the kerfuffle going on in the war of words between both clubs that led to a clearing of the benches in the A’s 5-4 win over the Rangers on Saturday, Homer Bailey’s performance was lost in the shuffle. But it may have been the most important
OAKLAND -- With all the kerfuffle going on in the war of words between both clubs that led to a clearing of the benches in the A’s 5-4 win over the Rangers on Saturday, Homer Bailey’s performance was lost in the shuffle. But it may have been the most important development.
Bailey needed to get back on track after a poor outing in Houston that saw the Astros tag him for nine runs over two innings, and the right-hander did just that by limiting the Rangers to three runs over 6 2/3 innings.
So, what changed Saturday night from his previous outing? Bailey credited the bounce back to a rediscovering of his slider. He threw it 13 times Saturday for six strikes, as opposed to the start in Houston where he threw it 17 times but only generated two swinging strikes.
“I actually had a slider today,” Bailey said after Saturday night’s win. “Last game it wasn’t there so much. We were able to mix speeds and [Chris] Herrmann called a great game behind the plate.”
All three of Bailey’s runs allowed came in the seventh inning when a two-run triple by Danny Santana pushed him out of the game with two outs. Before that, Bailey cruised through six scoreless frames, looking more like the pitcher the A’s were hoping to get when they acquired him in a trade with the Royals on July 16.
“His first game started slow and got better. The second game wasn’t great. His stuff [last night] was the guy we were looking for,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Pitched deep into the game, and other than a splitter that didn’t quite get down to Santana, he was fantastic.”
Bailey stepped up as the stopper for the A’s as he helped end a three-game losing streak by picking up the win, which put Oakland in a tie with the Red Sox for the second American League Wild Card entering Sunday’s action.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had enough bad starts that you learn how to turn the page,” Bailey said. “We had a little bit of a skid coming into the game, and I really wanted to do well for these guys and [I was] driven to pick up that win.”
Laureano gets a day off
Ramón Laureano was at the center of Saturday night’s scuffle after he was hit on the shoulder by a fastball from Rangers reliever Rafael Montero, but his day off Sunday had nothing to do with the incident. Melvin said he planned to give the center fielder Sunday off in order to deal with some minor hip issues.
“We talked about him getting off today. He’s a little banged up with some hip stuff,” Melvin said. “Nothing he can’t play through, but we felt with the off-day on Monday, he’d be best suited to get an extra day.”
Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.