Norris Grand Slam in ninth lifts A’s
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)—Oakland manager Bob Melvin wasn’t surprised by Jemile Weeks’ power display.
Weeks homered from both sides of the plate, Cliff Pennington added four hits and Derek Norris capped a five-run ninth inning with a grand slam in the Oakland Athletics’ 11-7 victory over the Texas Rangers.
“He stays within himself and he’s got a little juice,” Melvin said. “In certain counts, if you get the ball a little up he can take the ball out of the park.”
Weeks was surprised by how he hit the two homers.
“Off the top of my head, I’d have to say it’s the first time,” said Weeks said of homering from both sides of the plate. “It’s definitely tough to do, not to say even getting an at bat from the other side.”
He homered from the right side leading off the game against Martin Perez and then homered from the left in the fourth off Neil Ramirez.
“It’s a testament to my approach right now,” said Weeks, who hit two home runs in 97 games and 406 at-bats last season. “I’ve been able in the past to power up on some balls out there, which might be surprising to everyone here.”
Weeks also flashed his speed, reaching on an infield single in the second, before walking and striking out in his final two plate appearances.
Oakland trailed 7-6 entering the ninth but tied the game on an error before Norris’ grand slam gave the Athletics their tenth win in 14 games.
“Winning’s important,” Melvin said. “I don’t care if it’s spring training, an intrasquad game or whatever. Winning matters. That’s the environment we’re trying to create here.”
Texas was without manager Ron Washington, who left the team following a death in the family. He’s expected to return for the Rangers’ weekend series in Las Vegas.
Both starting pitchers struggled.
Oakland’s Brad Peacock lasted only 2 1-3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits and three walks with one strikeout and needing 61 pitches to get eight outs.
Perez went two innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a pair of walks. The left-hander struck out three.
“Sometimes I just got in my head a little bit,” Perez said. “You ask me what I need to do, and that’s what I need to do. When I struggle I get a little overanxious and that’s been my problem when I’m behind in the count. I tried to locate my pitches but I was a little desperate and anxious.”
Ian Kinsler homered in the fourth inning for the Rangers.
NOTES: Rangers OF Josh Hamilton, who left Wednesday’s game after jamming his right heel chasing down a double, returned to the lineup and went 0 for 3. Hamilton has three hits in 21 at-bats this spring. . A’s CF Yoenis Cespedes went 1 for 4 with a strikeout. . Rangers C Mike Napoli missed his sixth straight game with a strained left groin muscle but resumed some catching activities.