By Curtis Pashelka
OAKLAND – Adrián Martínez started the sixth-inning at-bat against Aaron Judge with an 81 mph slider for a strike, which was followed by a mid-90s sinker that caught the inside part of the plate.
The A’s starting pitcher Sunday then got the dangerous New York Yankees slugger to swing and miss on an 83 mph changeup.
Martínez was replaced by Sam Moll after he allowed a single to Giancarlo Stanton in the ensuing at-bat, but his point had already been made: He deserves a longer look as a member of the A’s starting rotation.
Martinez, officially recalled Sunday from Triple-A Las Vegas, allowed three hits and one earned run over 5⅓ innings as the A’s completed a 10-game homestand with a 4-1 win over the Yankees before an announced crowd of 29,498 at the Coliseum.
“When I saw Adrian (Saturday) night he had a big smile on his face. This kid just seems to maybe feed off a big environment,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of Martinez, who is 5-7 this season in Triple-A with a 5.72 ERA.
“The Triple-A numbers don’t show how he’s able to go out and perform here, and he did that today against obviously one of the better lineups in the league.”
Martinez’s changeup is the real deal, as he used it to finish off batters in four of his six strikeouts.
“His changeup was dominant today,” Kotsay said. “Got a lot of swings and misses on the changeup and threw strikes with his fastball. So it’s a great start.”
Dermis Garcia had two RBI and Stephen Vogt and Tony Kemp each drove in a run to help Oakland split the four-game series with the Yankees on a day the organization honored the 2002 Oakland team that won a then-American League record 20 consecutive games,
A.J. Puk retired the side in the ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season.
The A’s (48-81) begin a six-game road trip Tuesday, starting with a three-game series against Washington followed by three with Baltimore.
This year’s A’s team is looking for players that can be around long term. One might be Martínez, who made five starts for the A’s this season before Sunday.
The A’s made the decision to move Zach Logue to the bullpen before Saturday’s game to start Martinez on Sunday. Oakland now has 33 games left with some off-days mixed in, so it’s unclear how many more starts Martinez might get.
“I never like to show my hand,” Kotsay said about the rotation. “We’re going to discuss that. There obviously is that opportunity to slide him in, keep him in the rotation, give him a few more starts.
“If you count the number right now, we’ve got a day off going forward every Monday. So we’re going to assess how this rotation goes forward this weekend.”
Martinez improved his record with the A’s this season to 3-3 and lowered his ERA from 6.08 to 5.28.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Martinez said through an interpreter. “I’m going to keep on working and continuing to work will hopefully allow me to continue to be with the team.”
Vogt, who homered in the 10th inning Saturday, got the A’s on the board in the first inning with a two-out double to left that scored Seth Brown from first base. Garcia followed that with a single to left that scored Vogt.
The A’s added two more runs in the third, as Kemp’s single scored Nick Allen from second base. Garcia’s single later in the inning scored Kemp from second.
LAUREANO UPDATE: Outfielder Ramón Laureano, who hasn’t played for two weeks with a strained left oblique, will remain in Oakland during the A’s road trip after he came away sore from Saturday’s on-field workout.
Laureano hasn’t played since Aug. 14 but had been feeling progressively better in recent days. Saturday, though, he increased the intensity of his on-field workload and felt some discomfort after he ran the bases.
Kotsay did not want to call it a setback for Laureano, but there is no timeline for when he might be able to return. Laureano is hitting .223 with a .695 OPS in 84 games this season.
OUT OF AL WEST RACE: Despite the win, the A’s were officially eliminated from AL West title contention, as they remained 34 games back of the first-place Houston Astros with 33 games left. It’s the earliest the A’s have ever been eliminated from division title contention, eclipsing the ignominious mark set by the 1979 team that was eliminated on Aug. 30 of that year after game 135. That A’s team lost 108 games.
Source: Paradise Post