'Unbelievable' Brown HRs again, A's hold on

May 9th, 2021

OAKLAND -- The A’s had heard about the ridiculous power surges made a recurring thing throughout his time in the Minor Leagues. Now settling in as big leaguer, one of those famous hot streaks might already be happening.

Brown began Saturday's game vs. the Rays the way he ended it the night before. Slugging his first career walk-off hit on Friday -- a solo home run with two outs in the ninth -- Brown earned himself a move up the A’s lineup into the two-spot on Saturday. It immediately paid dividends, as Brown got the scoring started with a two-run shot off Rays ace Tyler Glasnow in the first inning.

Brown also added an important insurance run in the seventh with an RBI single, providing half of Oakland’s offensive production in a 6-3 win.

Brown -- a left-handed-hitting outfielder -- had seen a reduction in playing time over the past week after the A’s had faced a left-handed starter in six consecutive games, which matched the longest such streak in Oakland history.

That stretch was finally snapped on Saturday with the right-handed Glasnow on the mound, and Brown jumped all over him in the first. He smoked a 96.4 mph first-pitch fastball 108.4 mph off the bat -- the hardest-hit ball by an A’s player on the day -- and sent it 412 feet to straightaway center, per Statcast.

“He’s been unbelievable,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Brown. “The last two days, if we don’t have him, good chance we don’t win the game. He’s stepped up big for us not only in these last two games, but since he’s been here.”

Brown had shown the ability to make solid contact during his first callup to the Majors in 2018, but the long ball remained a hidden attribute in brief stints with Oakland across 33 games over the previous two seasons. His power stroke was well-documented throughout the Minors, though, where he crushed a total of 81 homers from 2017-19.

It appears all Brown needed was to see a ball clear the fence in order to get back to his power-hitting ways. Dating back to his first career homer on April 10, Brown has hit five home runs over his last 20 games. He’s also coming through in the clutch -- three of his five homers and six of his 12 RBIs have put the A’s ahead in a game this season.

“He’s been killing the ball,” A’s starter Frankie Montas said. “He’s swinging pretty good and I’m happy for him and everything that he’s doing right now. Nothing but good things to say about Seth.”

Backup catcher Austin Allen, who was called up earlier this week to fill in for the injured Aramis Garcia, followed up Brown’s two-run blast with a solo shot off Glasnow in the second. That screamer down the right-field line also came on a first-pitch fastball.

Though Glasnow was dialed in after the early offensive outburst and finished with 11 strikeouts, the A’s did manage to chase him after 5 1/3 innings by working the hard-throwing righty to 101 pitches. It was certainly an improvement from their showdown with Glasnow in St. Petersburg last month, when he stifled them over seven scoreless innings with 10 punchouts.

“Typically, with a starter like that, your best chance is to get him early in the game or wear him out,” Melvin said. “We did a little of both."

With Montas doing his best to preserve the early lead by tossing 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, the A’s returned to their usual winning formula -- relying on a stellar performance by the bullpen in the later innings. Montas handed it over to the trio of Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman and Lou Trivino, which finished the game off by holding the Rays to one run over the final 3 2/3 innings.

Trivino recorded the final four outs, notching his sixth save of the year after loading the bases with nobody out and navigating his way out of danger. The process may have been shaky, but the end result qualified as a bounce-back for the right-hander after he was roughed up for five runs and his first blown save of the season his last time out.

“When you have a tough outing and you go back out there and the challenges pop up again and you get through it, you’re better for it,” Melvin said. “We all know what kind of stuff Lou has. He’s had a terrific year to this point. He had one tough game the other day and had to get the cobwebs off that. I think this outing will do it for him.”