When Seattle’s Jarred Kelenic hit home runs for three straight days at Chicago’s Wrigley Field last month, his teammates started a postgame chant.
Mean Joe and Tommy GOAT | Michael Evans Behling’s Ultimate Sports Fantasy
“Hap-py Jar-red! Hap-py Jar-red!” they sang in unison.
There were a few more stanzas on Monday night after Kelenic hit a 455-foot home run in the first inning, igniting Seattle to an 11-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics. The four-game series between the American League West rivals will continue Tuesday night in Seattle
“Happy Jarred, happy sailors“Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Guys have little catchphrases, things that catch fire, so to speak, all year round.
“It’s Ty France that started… and now it’s becoming the post-game party. It’s what brings teams together, and it happens to a young player kissing it, which is really good .”
The 23-year-old Kelenic struggled in his first two major league seasons, hitting just .168 in his first 500 at-bats, but he’s busted this year. After going 3-for-4 on Monday, he’s batting .297 with a team leading 10 homers and 25 RBIs and a more slugging on-base percentage of .914.
Perhaps most impressive was his performance against left-handed pitchers.
On Sunday, Kelenic knocked out Atlanta’s Jared Shuster. It was Seattle’s only hit in six innings against the southpaw. A day later, Kelenic pulled away from Oakland’s Kyle Muller in another left-on-left game.
In 43 at-bats against lefties this season, Kelenic is batting .349 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and 1.099 OPS, making the projected field with AJ Pollock questionable.
“He was probably our best hitter against lefties,” Servais said. “Who would have thought that was happening in the season?”
The A’s, who have lost five in a row, welcomed outfielder/first baseman Seth Brown, who has been out since sustaining a Grade 2 left oblique sprain on April 8 during a swing check. Brown, who led the A’s in homers (25) and RBIs (73) last season, went 2-for-4 and drove in a run on Monday.
Oakland was shut out six innings by sailors as Luis Castillo
“We had a chance there in the sixth with Jace (Peterson) and the bases loaded to get back into the game,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “He executed a good substitution and was eliminated.”
On Tuesday, A right-hander Luis Medina (0-2, 6.88 ERA) is set to face Seattle left-hander Marco Gonzales (3-1, 6.10).
Medina will make his fourth career start and his first against the sailors. After losing his first two starts, he earned a no-decision game Wednesday against Arizona, allowing three runs on three hits in six innings of a 5-3 loss. The 24-year-old walked twice and tied a career high with six strikeouts
Gonzales is 10-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 19 career games against the A’s, including 18 starts. He suffered his first loss of the season Wednesday at Boston, when he allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings. His ERA skyrocketed from 4.42 to 6.10.