OAKLAND — After a rough go of it offensively during their recent 1-7 road trip, the A’s couldn’t swing a bat Monday without lashing a base hit somewhere.
That’s the up-and-down nature of a long baseball season, and the A’s were happy to revel in the good times during their 14-5 dismantling of the Texas Rangers to open a four-game series at The Coliseum.
The A’s pounded out 17 hits and scored a season-high 14 runs. Khris Davis hit his 15th homer and drove in five. And lefty reliever Daniel Coulombe received a beer shower in the clubhouse after notching his first major league victory.
But now the A’s will cross their fingers that encouraging news arrives regarding a forearm injury to left-hander Sean Manaea. The rookie is scheduled for an MRI after leaving Monday’s game in the fifth inning with what was diagnosed as a strain to the pronator muscle in his left forearm.
“It was a little scary,” manager Bob Melvin said afterward. “What I’m being told is it’s a muscle strain. The first thing you think about obviously when you’re in that area is something bad with the ligament. What I’m told is it’s muscular in nature. We’ll see how he feels (Tuesday).”
Manaea said after the game that his forearm has bothered him on a couple occasions this season, first when he was still with Triple-A Nashville and most recently after a bullpen session in Cincinnati. But those instances were minor enough for him to continue throwing.
“I kind of felt it in the fourth inning, warming up,” Manaea said. “It kind of loosened up during the inning and then the fifth inning came around and the same thing happened. It was just kind of tight. It just never got loose.”
Melvin said he knew something was wrong in the fifth when he looked at the stadium radar gun and had trouble distinguishing Manaea’s fastball from his changeup. He and assistant athletic trainer Brian Schulman waited a few pitches to see if Manaea regained his zip, then visited after Shin-Soo Choo’s one-out home run.
“My first thought was it's pretty scary because I hear forearm stuff all the time and the TJ, that word,” said Manaea, in reference to Tommy John surgery. “I don't like -- kind of not think about it. But from what (head trainer) Nick (Paparesta) told me, it's nothing too serious. Hopefully it's nothing bad. The doc took a look at my ligaments, said it was good from what he could tell. Just hoping the MRI says the same."
Davis did the A’s biggest damage off Texas left-hander Cesar Ramos (1-2) and three relievers. His three-run shot to left-center in the third off Ramos snapped a 10-game homerless streak, which was his longest since a 13-gamer to open the season. Davis has 42 RBI, and nearly one-third of them (13) have come in four games against the Rangers. Most significantly, Davis went deep for the first time since suffering nerve pain in his left hand, stemming from a pitch he took off the funny bone against Houston on June 4.
“Oh yeah, I hit it and I was like, ‘Yeah. Thank God, I can still hit it hard and get through it,’” Davis said.
The A’s scored just 21 runs total on their recently completed eight-game road trip. Six of those came in Sunday’s finale at Cincinnati, then they broke out for 14 on Monday. The A’s faced left-handed starters in both games, and they’ve gotten big contributions from hitters such as Josh Phegley (three-run homer Monday), Billy Butler and Jake Smolinski, all right-handed hitters who typically play only against lefties.
The A’s are scheduled to face another southpaw Tuesday in Martin Perez.
Said Davis: “It’s just a momentum thing. When you see other guys up there having good AB’s, you wanna follow up with that.”