Athletics’ Luzardo Tips Cap to Giants’ Batters for `Hunting Heaters’

After his poorest big-league start Firday, Jesús Luzardo `felt good’ but Giants didn’t seem to notice, putting up nine hits, six runs and two homers off the Oakland Athletics rookie lefty. Afterward he talked about his lack of command, allowing the Giants to focus on his fastball in a game the A's won in 10 innings.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Oakland A’s came out of Friday feeling pretty good about things. A game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning (Stephen Piscotty) leading to a 10-inning, 8-7 win does that.

But how they got to be behind 7-2 in the first place should remain a matter of some concern. A’s rookie left-hander Jesús Luzardo had, hands down, his poorest big league showing to date.

He gave up a solo homer to Evan Longoria in the first, a three-run shot to Hunter Pence in the third and a bases-loaded two-run single from Longoria again that led to Luzardo’s departure two outs in the fourth inning.

He’d never allowed more than five hits in a game. The Giants got him for nine. He’d never allowed more than three runs in a game. The Giants put up six against him.

For all of that, Luzardo seemed at a bit of a loss for the results, because “I felt great,” he said.

“To be honest, that was probably the first for the whole year in terms of just how my body felt,” Luzardo said. “Clearly the results weren’t what I wanted. But these things happen, so I’m trying to learn from it.”

Manager Bob Melvin, having watched Luzardo’s poorest MLB game, seemed ready to credit the San Francisco offense rather than pick apart Luzardo’s performance.

“What they had a was a really good approach,” Melvin said. “They didn’t chase anything. His command probably wasn’t the best, but they didn’t chase anything. And they made him throw the ball over the plate.”

When Luzardo did, it often caught too much of the middle of the plate, leading to the nine hits and, especially, the two home runs.

“The last thing you ever think watching Luzardo pitch is that he would give up that many hits,” Melvin said. “You know he’s going to have plenty of good games. This one wasn’t his best, but his teammates picked him up.”

Luzardo said there was plenty of excitement in the clubhouse as the A’s came back to tie in and eventually win it. And perhaps that made his day somewhat less painful.

“I was in the clubhouse with J.B. (Wendelken) and Lou (Trivino) watching, so we were excited,” Luzardo said. “We all know what this offense is capable of. Being able to see that we were to mount that comeback and then eventually win the game, that was awesome.”

And he, too, saluted the Giants’ approach.

“They had my number on all my pitches,” he said. “It felt like anything I threw over the plate the were on. I was missing my location and they were kind of just hunting heaters and just preying on mistakes. I made a lot of them over the course of course of those three innings.

“So, I think they were just hunting on the fastball is down those sinkers down, down in a way that they had a good approach on.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

Click the "follow" button in the top right corner to join the conversation on Inside the Athletics on SI. Access and comment on featured stories and start your own conversations and post external links on our community page.