OAKLAND – Not every day do you see teams pitch around light-hitting Eric Sogard. Marcus Semien made the Baltimore Orioles pay for the unorthodox move.
Semien drilled a three-run homer right after Sogard was intentionally walked to get to him, highlighting the A’s four-run rally that drove a 5-0 victory Tuesday night.
It’s not the most conventional way for the A’s to get their runs, but it was a needed offensive breakout for a team that came in batting .155 with just 11 runs over the first five games of this homestand.
The timely offense paved the way, finally, for Chris Bassitt’s first victory in an A’s uniform. Oakland had scored a total of five runs total for the right-hander over his first five starts with the team, as Bassitt (1-4) stayed winless despite not allowing more than three runs in any of those outings.
The A’s led 1-0 before their four-run rally in the sixth, when they came just a single shy of hitting for the cycle in the inning. After Billy Butler led off with a ground-rule double, Brett Lawrie drove him home with a triple to left-center. After Mark Canha struck out, Orioles manager Buck Showalter issued Sogard just the third intentional walk of his career to get to No. 9 hitter Semien, who came in hitting .173 since the All-Star break.
Semien hit an 0-1 pitch from reliever Chaz Roe that hit off the top of the wall in left-center and bounced over for a three-run shot that turned a 2-0 lead into 5-0.
Starting pitching report
Bassitt’s only other previous major league victory came last Sept. 22 with the White Sox, when he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Detroit. Tuesday’s strong outing continued his impressive stretch since joining the A’s rotation. The righty blanked the Orioles over seven innings, allowing five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Fernando Rodriguez delivered a 1-2-3 eighth and Fernando Abad closed it out despite putting two runners aboard in the ninth. The A’s notched their AL-best 14th shutout.
At the plate
Sogard entered the night hitting .246 and without a single home run on the season. But perhaps the Orioles had his fifth-inning at-bat in mind, when he doubled down the right-field line and eventually scored on Billy Burns’ two-out single to center. Semien’s homer was his 10th of the season and second in the past four games. The five runs the A’s scored for Bassitt equaled the total number of runs they’d given him over his previous five starts.
In the field
Coco Crisp provided Bassitt a lift in the third, when he hit the turf for a tumbling catch that ended the inning and saved a run. Crisp, playing with chronic neck problems, had talked the night before about his need to adjust his play slightly in order to stay healthy. It didn’t stop his all-out effort to snag Gerardo Parra’s sinking liner.
A crowd of 16,328 was on hand.
Kendall Graveman (6-7, 3.84) is trying to snap a three-game losing streak, though he’s coming off an encouraging start last time out against Cleveland. He’ll match up against lefty Wei-Yin Chen (5-6, 3.24) in Wednesday’s 12:35 p.m. series finale.