Programming note: For all the day’s sports news, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
Josh Donaldson took his work home with him Monday night. Or more accurately, he took it to his hotel room.
Frustrated by a four-strikeout performance against the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A’s third baseman retreated to his room and watched video of his at-bats.
“I saw a few things that I probably need to clean up,” he said.
Apparently he made the right adjustments Tuesday night. Donaldson enjoyed a 5-for-6 game and drove in four runs as the A’s pounded the White Sox 11-2 in a victory that had to feel therapeutic for his entire team.
Having scored just 27 runs over their past 10 games (2.7 per game), the A’s broke out for their first double-figure run total since Aug. 12, when they hung 11 on the Kansas City Royals.
After watching one-run leads slip away in the ninth inning the previous two days, on Tuesday the A’s spent the ninth racking up five runs to increase a four-run cushion to nine and allow manager Bob Melvin to breathe easy.
On an individual level, Donaldson was feeling much better about things too. He struck out in each of his first four plate appearances Monday, only to experience a 180-degreee turnaround 24 hours later. The five hits were a career high.
“I think baseball’s a stupid game,” Donaldson said. “It’s just one of those things where I didn’t even come close to touching anything (Monday) -- four punches. And tonight, I was able to get the most hits in my career in one game. As I always try to say, you’ve just gotta turn the page.”
As the A’s offense has gone into hibernation for most of the past month, Donaldson had been one of the few players showing life at the plate until he fell into a 3-for-29 dip that he brought to Tuesday’s game.
He’s the No. 3 hitter in the lineup, an All-Star that undoubtedly is a focal point of opponents’ scouting reports. The pressure is on for him to come through at this time of the year, but the fact of the matter is Donaldson can’t do it alone. Brandon Moss is still trying to fight his way out of a prolonged slump. Derek Norris has looked better with the bat recently, but he’s dropped off considerably from his first-half production. Yoenis Cespedes? He now wears a Boston Red Sox uniform.
But on Tuesday, Donaldson led an 18-hit A’s attack that saw several different players get in on the act. Oakland maintained a 1 ½ game lead for the AL’s top wild card spot over Detroit and Seattle, now tied for the second wild card.
Melvin said he wasn’t concerned about Donaldson coming off a four-strikeout night.
“It was just a tough night,” Melvin said. “He’s gone through a little bit of a stretch, which he’s had a few of. (But) you watch his at-bats. He’s into every pitch intently. He never takes a pitch off, he never takes an at-bat off.”
And sometimes, Donaldson’s work day doesn’t end when he leaves the ballpark. Unlike the night before, however, any game film he watched from Tuesday had to bring a smile to his face.