OAKLAND — After watching Jed Lowrie rip a go-ahead three-run double against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday to key the Oakland Athletics’ 6-2 win, starting pitcher Chris Bassitt was certain his second baseman deserved to be an All-Star.
While Lowrie has been one of Oakland’s best hitters this season, he remains fifth in fan voting amongst AL second basemen. That doesn’t sit well with Bassitt, who started the game but lasted just 4 2/3 innings.
“I’m not sure who is there, but you’ve got to find a spot for him,” Bassitt said. “What he’s doing at the plate this year consistently over and over is All-Star worthy. … He’s the guy right now.”
Lowrie’s knock against Padres starter Clayton Richard highlighted a five-run sixth inning. He finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs. He’s up to a .293 average with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs this season. Each of those figures ranks top-two among AL second basemen, with only the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve boasting better all-around production.
Before the game, Melvin brought up Lowrie’s All-Star candidacy unprompted. He lauded Lowrie for spending the past two weeks covering defensively for injured third baseman Matt Chapman. He reflected on Lowrie’s knack for important hits with runners on base.
Following Lowrie’s performance against San Diego, Melvin reiterated that praise.
“He’s got such a great approach of what every at-bat needs,” Melvin said. “It’s been phenomenal.”
Lowrie, 34, attributed his three-run double Tuesday to waiting out some bad pitches he couldn’t drive. He took two balls just above and just below the zone before pouncing on a 2-2 fastball right down the middle.
During his 11-year career, Lowrie has never made an All-Star team. That’s largely because he hasn’t been healthy, having played more than 100 games just three times.
So, making the All-Star team this year — even as a reserve — would be special to him.
“It would be the icing on the cake,” Lowrie said. “I feel like I’ve been close a couple of times and haven’t been there. So that’s something I’d always be able to say.”
While Lowrie was the main offensive contributor on Tuesday, he did have some help. Oakland put five straight men on base in the sixth, and designated hitter Khris Davis smacked an RBI single up the middle, with center fielder Mark Canha hitting a solo home run to jolt a larger-than-usual crowd on hand for fireworks night.
“We finally made [Richard] throw the ball over the plate … and we get a couple of big hits,” Melvin said.
With the win, the A’s have taken 13 of their past 16 games, making their 15-3 blowout loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday seem inconsequential.
After Oakland’s bullpen gave up 12 of Cleveland’s 15 runs, the group held the Padres scoreless and picked up Bassitt, who was inefficient and couldn’t make it out of the fifth. Bassitt suffered a minor shin injury when Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer inadvertently spiked him while running up the first base line, but the right-hander said he should be OK moving forward.
After the defeat to Cleveland, which marked Oakland’s worst loss since May, shortstop Marcus Semien said having a day off Monday would prove beneficial.
There were reasons for his optimism beyond a much-needed physical break. Oakland was on a hot streak and would return third baseman Matt Chapman from the disabled list. Bassitt had a 2.82 ERA entering the contest. The Padres are in last place in the NL West.
But Chapman went 0-for-3 and Bassitt struggled. The A’s didn’t score for the first five innings against Richard, an inconsistent starter with a 4.46 ERA.
Then Lowrie took command with a performance to back up the All-Star pleas of his manager and teammate. If fans don’t make him a starter — a likely outcome given how much he trails the second basemen ahead of him —then he’ll need to be selected as a reserve by the player ballot, the commissioner’s office or a final fan vote.Chris BassittJed LowrieKhris DavisMark CanhaMLBOakland A'sOakland Athletics