January 29, 2023

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Bats help A's end 0-13 skid against Mariners

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Lowrie HRs, passes Lansford on all-time Oakland doubles list
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OAKLAND — A road trip to Detroit earlier this month birthed a tradition for the A’s of doing the Nae Nae — a dance move popularized by Silentó’s 2015 hit song, “Watch Me” — whenever a player reaches second base on a double.

Around that time, Oakland’s offense was in a major slump, affording hitters little opportunity to bust out their moves. Tuesday night, however, finally brought the A’s a chance for a dance party on the bases.

The Nae Nae was featured heavily on a night the A’s matched a season-high with four doubles in their 7-5 victory over the Mariners at T-Mobile Park. The victory was Oakland’s first against Seattle in its last 14 tries, snapping what was the club’s longest losing streak against a single team since its move to California prior to the 1968 season.

Though the A’s offense as a whole entered the night ranked last in most major offensive categories, signs of a breakthrough continue to show, something manager Mark Kotsay noticed a couple of weeks ago when the A’s seemed to consistently crush the ball into hard-luck outs. With seven runs on 13 hits in Tuesday’s contest, the A’s have now scored 30 runs over their last seven games, with four double-digit hit totals over that span.

“I think they’re trending in the right direction,” Kotsay said. “We talked about this maybe 10 days ago, that the hitters have shown an approach to stick with the game plan and a mentality to get the next guy up. They’re doing a great job right now of taking what the pitchers and the defense are giving them and putting good at-bats together.”

The first Nae Nae of the night came from Chad Pinder, who got the scoring started for the A’s in the first with an opposite-field RBI double that bounced off the wall in right. Two innings later, Jed Lowrie had the second double of the night, also hitting the Nae Nae after his knock scored Tony Kemp from first base.

One of the most prolific doubles hitters to don the green and gold, Lowrie had plenty to dance about with this double. It was his 202nd career two-bagger as a member of the A’s, surpassing Carney Lansford for the eighth-most in Oakland history.

That double was the first of two big hits on the night for Lowrie. He also broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth by smashing a two-run homer to right.

Lowrie has had to quickly play catch-up since he signed with the A’s near the end of Spring Training. After missing time earlier in the season due to a bout with COVID-19 and more recently dealing with a back issue, the 38-year-old is getting up to speed at the plate. With two more hits on Tuesday, he’s now hitting .343 (12-for-35) with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs over his last 10 games.

“It’s kind of been some fits and starts,” Lowrie said of his season to this point. “I’m happy with where I’m at right now. Just continue to get those reps and feel good.”

Regardless of how he’s hitting, Lowrie remains an impactful presence inside the A’s clubhouse, often providing guidance to hitters of all ages with his knowledge gained over 14 big league seasons. Especially for a team with so many players being thrust into everyday roles for the first time in their careers, such as Kemp, Lowrie’s availability as a resource continues to be invaluable.

“He knows what he’s talking about,” Kemp said of Lowrie. “I learned so much from him last year and I just feel like he’s one of those guys that, if you have him in the clubhouse, you automatically feel good about yourself. Can’t say enough about what he’s done. Especially being 38 years old and just seeing what it takes for him to get his body ready each day, it’s impressive.”

For most of the season, the A’s have lacked quality offensive support to back the consistent strong pitching performances they have received. On Tuesday, A’s hitters were able to pick up a rough start of five runs allowed by James Kaprielian and hand off a lead to the bullpen, which shut Seattle down after the fifth, ending with Dany Jiménez notching his ninth save of the year.

“As the summer heats up, the bats heat up,” Kemp said. “We’re just going to go with that mantra. It just feels good to get some double-digit hits and big runs late.

“We just have to continue to stay within ourselves and not put pressure on ourselves. Just try to have fun. It’s a kid’s game.”

The Nae Nae certainly plays into the A’s having fun, even if it is a bit of a foreign concept for their first-year skipper.

“Not sure what [the Nae Nae] is,” Kotsay said. “But I’m a fan of any dance. I’m a fan of any type of celebration. It’s good to see the guys having fun.”

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