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Olson’s massive 450-foot jack sparks A's offense

@MartinJGallegos
September 18, 2019

OAKLAND -- The A’s offense started out stagnant on Tuesday night, and then Matt Olson went boom. Flustered by Royals starter Jorge López with just two hits through the game’s first six innings, Olson provided the A’s a jolt with a mammoth solo shot that sparked a two-run seventh in

OAKLAND -- The A’s offense started out stagnant on Tuesday night, and then Matt Olson went boom.

Flustered by Royals starter Jorge López with just two hits through the game’s first six innings, Olson provided the A’s a jolt with a mammoth solo shot that sparked a two-run seventh in an eventual 2-1 win at the Coliseum. The victory extends Oakland’s lead for the top American League Wild Card spot to two games over Tampa Bay with 10 contests remaining.

Box score

Olson woke the entire A’s bench by obliterating a 94-mph fastball from López on a 2-1 count for his 35th homer of the year. It registered at 110.2 mph off the bat, and was driven over the first row of Coliseum suites in straightaway center for an estimated 450 feet, per Statcast.

“I’ve never even put one up there in batting practice, so I was a little shocked that it made it up there,” Olson said. “He [López] left one over the plate, and I got a hold of it.”

López turned and flailed his arms in the air as he watched the ball in flight. The crowd of 14,992 fans stood and roared, knowing there was no chance that ball was staying in the yard. A’s pitcher Sean Manaea took a step out from the dugout and placed both hands over his head in disbelief.

“Massive,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said when asked to describe Olson’s blast. “He hit one in Philly a couple of years ago, and he’s always said that one was by far the longest one he’s hit. But he had a tough time after the one today. Going to center field is even more difficult, and in the upper deck, you don’t see too many up there. Especially from lefties.”

The majestic game-tying blast was Olson’s longest of the year and second longest by an A’s batter this season, just three feet shy of Matt Chapman’s 453-foot shot against the Astros on Aug. 15. The homer set the table for the go-ahead run, which was driven in just two batters later on an RBI double by Seth Brown.

The most impressive part about Olson’s bomb? It came in a night game that began with a cool game time temperature of 66 degrees, which is usually when fly balls tend to get knocked down by the marine layer.

“At night, sometimes it doesn’t really carry that well here,” Olson said. “That one carried just fine. One of my better swings.”

“It was like the one I gave up to [Mike] Trout a couple of starts ago,” said Oakland starter Brett Anderson, who surrendered just one run over five innings. “But this was at night, so even more impressive. I don’t know if you can get one too much better than that.”

After surgery to remove a hamate bone in his right hand just two games into the regular season, Olson was unsure how long it would take to regain his power. It clearly didn’t take much time for Olson to feel good about his swing again -- and despite missing 34 games due to the injury, his 35 home runs now lead all AL first basemen.

He’s also doing some his best work in this final month of the regular season, now 18-for-61 with eight home runs, six doubles and 18 RBIs in 16 September games.

Hendriks makes history

One night after recording just his second blown save when entering a game in the ninth, Liam Hendriks bounced back with a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 23rd save of the year.

With two strikeouts in the scoreless frame, Hendriks reached 116 punchouts on the year to surpass Rollie Fingers for most in a season by an A’s reliever.

“That’s his biggest weapon,” Melvin said. “It gets him out of jams with guys on base. He’s got a much better slider to keep them off his fastball, and his fastball velocity is the best of his career. He’s been striking guys out all year.”

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.