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Martini making most of chance atop A's lineup

MLB.com @JaneMLB

DENVER -- The contributions spilling from a red-hot A's team have been widespread.

Top to bottom, they're getting help all over the place, part-timers included -- notably Nick Martini, who has made good on a sudden opportunity in the wake of Matt Joyce's injury.

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DENVER -- The contributions spilling from a red-hot A's team have been widespread.

Top to bottom, they're getting help all over the place, part-timers included -- notably Nick Martini, who has made good on a sudden opportunity in the wake of Matt Joyce's injury.

View Full Game Coverage

On Saturday, Martini drew his fourth start in the leadoff spot since returning from Triple-A Nashville but first in center field, getting the nod over Dustin Fowler, who is batting .180 over his last 17 games, against Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela.

"We wanted to get Nick's bat in the lineup," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Not a ton of experience in center field, but we're just trying to get the right complement on a particular day, and he's had a nice run swinging the bat."

Martini entered the day 8-for-17 with five RBIs in 11 games since his latest promotion, including 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter in Tuesday's historical win in Arlington, as the A's roared back from eight down after six innings to topple the Rangers, 13-10.

Martini laced a double in a three-run seventh that jumpstarted the shenanigans and singled with one out in the 10th to helped set up Khris Davis' game-winning three-run homer.

Video: OAK@TEX: Martini plates Semien with a double to left

"It's a really difficult thing when you're not getting consistent playing time to stay locked in and keep your rhythm, so it shows you how good of a ballplayer he is to do that," A's outfielder Stephen Piscotty said. "He gives you a great at-bat. A lot of guys are doing that right now, and he's a great example of that. It feels pretty special here in that sense, because that doesn't happen all the time."

Piscotty and Martini overlapped at different stops in the Cardinals organization, not long ago home to a surplus of outfielders; it's one of the reasons St. Louis felt compelled to trade Piscotty, and why Martini, who left as a Minor League free agent following seven seasons without a big league opportunity, was perhaps overlooked at times.

Martini, who latched on with the A's through a Minor League deal, left Nashville with a streak of 65 consecutive games of reaching base. The 28-year-old hasn't slowed down on the bigger stage.

"I've just been ready and then been fortunate enough to have good at-bats in big situations," Martini said. "It's been a blast to contribute to a team that's winning this many games. It's special for sure."

"As long as he's swinging like this, we're going to look to get him in there," Melvin said. "He's done a nice job leading off."

Fowler, meanwhile, will take his turns when Melvin deems him best set up for success.

"That's the difficult part with the position that we're in," Melvin said. "You know this guy is going to be a big part of our future. There's a great chance he's going to be the everyday center fielder. It's tougher to stay with guys that maybe right now aren't swinging the bat, as well because of the position we're in. Every game is important."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Nick Martini