How three clutch hits turned tide in A's bounce-back win vs. Twins

Ben Ross
NBC Sports BayArea

Entering Friday's game in Minnesota, the A's were only batting .243 with two outs and runners in scoring position. They were tied for 16th in MLB, but that position and their average will go up following Oakland's 3-for-7 performance in such situations during their 5-3 win over the Twins.

Matt Olson, Khris Davis, and Chad Pinder all came through with clutch RBI singles, two of them with two outs, to help the A's rally back and even the series at a game apiece.

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Olson came to the plate in the top of the fifth with two outs and the tying run on second base. The A's first baseman took three straight fastballs, two for balls and one for a strike, to inch ahead in the count 2-1.

Twins starter Jake Odorizzi then executed a well-placed splitter low and away, but Olson was able to reach out and stroke it into center field for a base hit to score Marcus Semien and tie the game at three.

The single extended Olson's career-high hitting streak to 14 games and revealed his tremendous growth as an all-around hitter. The 26-year-old can obviously still hit for plenty of power, as his 20 home runs in just 238 at-bats would suggest, but he also knows how and when to put the ball in play for a base hit.

The next inning, with the game still tied at three, Ramón Laureano led off with a double. That brought up Davis, whose recent struggles have been well-documented. However, the A's slugger displayed a terrific piece of hitting, waiting back on a 2-1 curveball and ripping it into left field for his second RBI single of the night to give the A's a 4-3 lead. 

Davis still hasn't homered in more than a month, but he put together three solid at-bats on Friday. In addition two his two RBI singles, he torched a ball at 107 mph in the fourth inning for a lineout to center. Davis appears to at least be making small strides at the plate.

Later in the sixth inning, with two outs and a runner on second, Pinder came to the plate with a chance to provide some insurance. He would fall behind in the count 1-2 before sitting back on a curveball and blistering it into left field for an RBI base hit to make it 5-3.

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The A's finished the night 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position, good for a .364 average. When Oakland can manufacture runs with situational hitting on top of launching home runs (which Marcus Semien did on the third pitch of the night), it's a potent combination.

With the win, the A's improved to 56-42 on the season, a full game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild-card spot. Oakland hasn't lost consecutive games since June 8.

How three clutch hits turned tide in A's bounce-back win vs. Twins originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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