In college, Kurt Suzuki earned the nickname "Kurt Klutch" for his big hits in big moments. Oakland A's fans got a taste of what Cal-State Fullerton fans saw for years when Suzuki delivered a walk-off homer for the A's on Thursday. Meanwhile, prospect Dan Meyer is set to make his Oakland A's debut and his first pro start on Friday.
Kurt Klutch Delivers Again
Game-winning hits are nothing new for Kurt Suzuki, who made a career of delivering the big blow in college at Cal-State Fullerton. Suzuki extended his penchant for game-winners into major league play this week, as he hit two game-winning homeruns in the last two games, helping the A's sweep the Chicago White Sox.
On Wednesday, Suzuki delivered a two-run homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning. That homer wound up being the difference in a game that the A's won, 3-2. Then on Thursday afternoon, Suzuki delivered a two-out, run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth inning and followed up that hit with a two-out, first-pitch walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th in the A's 8-5 win over Chicago.
The homer was Suzuki's first walk-off of his young major league career, and his fourth of the season. Suzuki has driven-in 17 runs in 36 games for the A's this season and he has his average up to .255. He is batting .333 over his last 15 games.
Suzuki was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft by the A's. He has made a quick journey from draft pick to starting major league catcher and appears to be securing his spot on the A's roster for next season.
Meyer Ready To Start A's Career
Dan Meyer's comeback just got a little bit sweeter.
The left-hander was tapped by A's manager Bob Geren to start Friday night's home game against the Kansas City Royals. It will mark Meyer's first big-league start and his first appearance in the majors since 2004, when he made two relief stints with the Atlanta Braves.
Meyer's past two seasons have been cut short by left shoulder injuries, and he underwent surgery to remain a large bone chip in his shoulder in July 2006. He's made the long road back and was called up from the minors Monday.
"I'm excited," Meyer said. "I have to get through that excitement at some point and stay focused and just keep us in the ballgame."
Right-hander Esteban Loaiza is making a fourth rehab start Friday for Triple-A Sacramento but is expected to be activated soon, and someone will likely have to leave the rotation then.
Manager Bob Geren wouldn't say if Meyer's stay in the rotation would be an extended one or not.
"(Meyer) is starting (Friday) and we'll go from there," Geren said.
--OF Mark Kotsay sat for the second day in a row with stiffness in his lower back. This comes after Kotsay aggravated his back while breaking up a double play in Detroit on Sunday, and it appears he'll have to be used cautiously for the rest of the season. Kotsay missed the season's first two months after undergoing lower back surgery in March.
--OF Travis Buck made his second straight start in center field with Kotsay ailing. Those were Buck's first two big-league starts at the position. But the highlight-reel catches he's made at both corner outfield spots showed that the rookie should have the range to handle center field when needed.
--DH Mike Piazza fell just a double shy of hitting for the cycle for the first time in his career during Thursday's 8-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. Piazza also hit his first homer at McAfee Coliseum as an Athletic. He nearly got his double in the seventh inning, but was robbed by a diving catch by the Sox's Jerry Owens.
--1B Nick Swisher uncharacteristically made two errors at first base that led to two runs Thursday. Swisher entered the game having made just six errors at the position in 153 career games at first base. He made up for those errors with an outstanding diving catch in foul ground to end the ninth inning.