Click here if you are having trouble viewing the slideshow on a mobile device.
OAKLAND — It served as a snapshot in time of an A’s team on a roll, helping to ignite a 7-2 win Saturday over the Cleveland Indians.
Down 2-0 in the sixth inning and with Cleveland starter Adam Plutko doing a paint job on the corners, Josh Phegley came to the plate with no outs and Franklin Barreto on second base.
Phegley hit a twisting foul pop-up, with Indians catcher Yan Gomes getting in position to make the catch to the left of the Cleveland dugout.
“I think I audibly yelled, `Get out of here!,’ ” Phegley said.
The ball, however, struck a television camera, which protruded slightly on to the field of play. Gomes gave the camera a light slap in frustration, not knowing that fate had intervened in favor of an A’s team which has won a season-high six games in a row.
Plutko (4-2) worked the count to 1-2, and Phegley’s focus was to simply hit a ground ball to the right and get Barreto to third. But the A’s backup catcher will gladly take what happened instead — a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season, which tied the game 2-2.
From that point on, it was all A’s. They added a third run that inning on an RBI double from Mark Canha, then broke it open with a four-run eighth inning that included home runs from Dustin Fowler (his fifth) and Matt Olson (his 18th) before a crowd of 17,748.
“Right now it feels like everything is going our way,” Fowler said. “It’s fun. We do something special every day.”
Edwin Jackson, the well-traveled 34-year-old starting pitcher making his second start, gave up a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning to Francisco Lindor (his 20th) and Jose Ramirez (his 24th) but nothing else to get his first win with his 13th big league team.
Ryan Buchter, Emilo Pagan, Santiago Casilla and finally Lou Trivino finished things up, with Trevino cleaning up a bases-loaded situation inherited from Casilla to get his third save.
The A’s are 46-38 and have won 12 of their last 14 games. While manager Bob Melvin thinks it is way too early to invoke thoughts of 2012 and a 94-win season that won the American League West, he conceded the 2018 club has a different feel to it.
“It’s a little bit more of a group feeling than when you’re having place-holders here for a year, looking for their next contract,” Melvin said. “It’s the way we had to handle it. We were looking for this group to get here.”
That home grown group does not include Jackson, whose career M.O. has been as a journeyman with good stuff and control issues. He once threw a no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks and had eight walks.
In two starts with the A’s, Jackson has pitched 12 2/3 innings with no walks and 13 strikeouts.
“The times I’ve had success in my career and the times I haven’t, the walk differential has been huge,” Jackson said. “It’s been `walk, walk, big hit.’ Those solo home runs are not two- and three-run home runs that change the game. I just want to come in and attack the zone.”
Jackson threw fastballs that ranged from 91 miles an hour to 97 on a couple of elevated pitches. He threw change-ups, sliders and kept the Indians off-balance.
“It’s like he’s got three different fastballs,” Melvin said. “One cuts a little bit, one sinks a little bit. A four-seamer that pulls out 96 when he wants it. Enough sliders and change-ups. A better change-up even than last time. It’s a really good look.”
Jackson, picked up on a $1.5 million contract and pitching in Triple-A Nashville until his start in Detroit on June 25, is enjoying the ride.
“I definitely feel like this is a special group,” Jackson said. “I feel like this team is underrated, it can do a lot of special things, and with the attitude these guys have, it’s not a surprise to anyone in this clubhouse what they can do. I’m just happy to be a part of it. I want to join the fun.”
— Melvin took responsibility for Casilla’s struggles in the ninth inning — he got one out, then gave up a hit and two walks — saying the veteran hadn’t pitched in six days.
With closer Blake Treinen getting a day of rest, Trivino came out with one out and the bases loaded and got Yonder Alonso to hit into a 3-6-1 double play to end the game. The A’s are 32-0 when leading after seven innings, the only team in the majors to be unbeaten when leading after seven.
— Canha has reached base safely in his last 10 games and his 11-for-34 (.323) with three home runs and nine RBIs during that span.
— Third baseman Matt Chapman take batting practice Sunday and how he feels afterward will likely determine whether he is activated for the San Diego series July 3-4.
Source: East Bay A’s keep it rolling with good luck, good pitching, clutch hitting