(CBS Baltimore) — April baseball can be a little strange, with teams welcoming new players, finding their footing and getting in the routine of playing (almost) every day. It’s easy to forget this after a season that began almost fourth months past the originally scheduled opening day. But we were reminded again this week when the Oakland A’s won their 13th-straight game, only to be trounced by the lowly Baltimore Orioles in the their series finale. Two days prior, Fernando Tatis Jr. hit two long balls in Dodger Stadium 22 years to the day after his father did the same.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at the A’s’ winning streak, Tatis’s home runs and Mike Trout’s strong start.
Orioles End A’s’ 13-Game Win Streak
The A’s arrived in Baltimore having won 11 straight. That amazing streak, still two wins from completion, came after an 0-6 start to the season. It started, innocuously enough, with a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros back on April 9. It continued with sweeps of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. They then took two games from the Orioles.
The last win of the streak came on a rainy Saturday night on the road. The A’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead and extended that lead to 4-0 the following inning, before the Orioles responded with a run of their own. In the fourth inning, Jed Lowrie hit a monster three-run home run to right field. Baltimore responded with another run in the fifth inning, but would never get closer than that. Chris Bassitt struck out eight Orioles over six innings.
Left-hander John Means put up another strong outing to quiet the Oakland bats the following day. Means, pitching on two additional days of rest, gave up just one run, while striking out six, in 6 and 1/3 innings. The Orioles offense was powered by Austin Hays’ two HRs and Cedric Mullins’ three hits.
This latest A’s winning streak fell one win short of their 14-game winning streak from 1988 and seven short of their 20-game winning streak in 2002. The latter was at the time an American League record. The A’s outscored opponents 81-36 during the winning streak and vaulted from last to first in the American League West. Even after Sunday’s loss in Baltimore, Oakland still holds the best record in the American League.
Since then, the Orioles topped the New York Yankees, and the A’s got back in the win column with a victory of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Fernando Tatis Jr.’s Two-Home Run Game, Followed By Another
While not all that uncommon, a two-home run game is still something to celebrate. Doing it against one of the best pitchers in baseball makes it a little more interesting, even if that pitcher is known give up a long ball or two on occasion. Going long twice again the next day, this time against the reigning National League Cy young winner, makes it even more special. But four home runs in two days still doesn’t tell the whole story.
San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. twice took Clayton Kershaw deep on Friday night at Dodger Stadium. And he did it 22 years to the day after his father — Fernando Tatis — hit two grand slams in the same inning in the same stadium. The pair are the first father and son duo in League history to each sock at least two home runs in the same place on the same date.
“I told myself, ‘If I could just hit two home runs today, that would be so crazy,'” the younger Tatis said to reporters after the second game of the series. “I think the baseball gods were in my favor.”
The Padres won Friday’s game, 6-1.
It turns out Tatis’s big weekend was just getting started. On Saturday afternoon, in the third game of the series, he hit two more home runs, this time off of Trevor Bauer. Rounding the bases after his first longball, he covered one eye, making fun of Bauer. The Dodgers pitcher worked with one eye closed in a spring training game against the Padres.
Anything you can do, eye can do better. pic.twitter.com/LzXWzzI0Ak
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) April 25, 2021
He would follow that up with another home run in the sixth, though the Dodgers prevailed, 5-4. It turns out the game still wasn’t over, it just moved over to Twitter. Bauer followed up on a Tweet speculating whether Tatis had been stealing signs. And Tatis responded, “take it easy, son.”
Tranquilo hijo . pic.twitter.com/lRe2hBLmR8
— Fernando Tatis Jr. (@tatis_jr) April 25, 2021
Mike Trout’s Strong Start
Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout sat out the weekend with a contusion on his left elbow. Trout was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against the Astros. He returned to action Monday night, resuming what’s been a strong start to the season.
In his 18 games this season, the outfielder is batting .426, with 6 HRs and 14 RBI. His on-base percentage is .539, and his on-base percentage is .820. The eight-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP has yet to win a playoff game with the Angels and hasn’t been part of a winning team since 2015. The Angels are currently 11-10 and in third place in the AL West behind the A’s and Seattle Mariners.
Trout seems measuredly optimistic about their chances this season. “I think it’s about just taking it one game at a time, it’s a long season,” he said in a recent interview with CBS Sports. “We have that great team chemistry right now and a great core leadership in this group, and we’ll take it one game at a time to see where we are at the end of September.”