Oakland Athletics second baseman Jurickson Profar snapped out of his early-season slump with a four-hit night and the A’s broke their four-game losing streak with a 13-2 pummeling of the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, getting home runs from both their middle infielders in the process.
Shortstop Marcus Semien hit a three-run shot to cap off a five-run top of the second inning in which Oakland utilized itsinfield hits and an error on another slow grounder, while Profar led off the seventh by homering from the right side, traditionally the weaker side for the switch-hitter, against reliever Richard Bleier.
The third of the infield hits in the second inning was also the first of Profar’s four hits and the first of his five RBIs, bringing Khris Davis home on a grounder that Orioles shortstop Richie Martin fielded deep in the hole. Some excellent running by Josh Phegley brought in the second run, as the catcher’s weak chopper was fielded at third by a charging Hanser Alberto. Alberto’s throw took Rio Ruiz off the bag at first, and Phegley slid to avoid the tag, scoring Chad Pinder and keeping the inning alive for Semien, who made John Means’ first career start a tough one by pounding his second homer of the year to left-center.
Though Oakland (7-8) wouldn’t score again until the top of the seventh, the defense took care of business in the interim. Brett Anderson picked up his third win of the year, keeping the Orioles off the board until the seventh thanks to some poor baserunning. Anderson walked Martin to open the bottom of the third and allowed a single to Jonathan Villar, but when Joey Rickard singled to center, Martin hadn’t taken notice from the rest of the league and made the mistake of running on Ramon Laureano, who nailed him at the plate on a 96-mph one-hopper. Rickard then made the second out of the inning as Phegley threw him out at second on a double steal, and Trey Mancini’s flyout to center ended the inning.
Anderson only issued the one walk on the night and allowed seven hits over 6 2/3 innings, finally letting Baltimore (5-7) on the board when Pedro Severino’s drive to the gap in right-center popped out of Laureano’s glove for a two-run double. As Laureano had to cover tons of ground to have a shot at the play, there was no error, and Lou Trivino was called on to get out of the inning, which he did by getting a soft liner from pinch-hitter Cedric Mullins.
The A’s pulled away from there, lighting up the Orioles bullpen over the final two innings. Bleier was charged with three more runs after Miguel Castro inherited his bases-loaded situation, giving up a two-run single to Profar, a double to Phegley and a Semien sac fly. Castro was called for two balks in the ninth and gave up three more runs, with Laureano singling in a pair and Profar collecting his fourth hit and fifth RBI of the night with another single to right, clanking off the wall as Rickard played it back to the infield quickly to prevent an extra-base hit.
Though Profar was certainly the star of the show, Pinder also racked up three hits and Phegley continued his hot streak with two more hits, while Liam Hendriks took care of the final five outs with ease.