Second baseman impresses against A's, who traded him in offseason
By Joe Chasan
Special to MLB.com |
OAKLAND -- It's like he never left Oakland. And in a sense, Brett Lawrie hasn't.
After Lawrie was traded from the A's to the White Sox during the offseason, Chicago's schedule this year just happened to start with four games against his former club. And in the series finale, a 6-1 White Sox win on Thursday, Lawrie made sure his ex-teammates would have something to remember him by.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lawrie came up big in a crucial spot. With two on and two out in a scoreless game, Coco Crisp sent a hard-hit grounder back up the middle that seemed destined to get through for what would have been a run-scoring single to give the A's the lead. It wasn't to be, as Lawrie dove to his right, made a backhand pick, and flipped to Tyler Saladino for the force out at second that ended the inning.
One inning later, he made another highlight-reel play on the very next A's batter, robbing Billy Burns of a potential infield single. After Thursday's starter, Mat Latos, got his glove on the comebacker, Lawrie changed directions, barehanded the ball and threw out Burns at first. Jose Abreu made a nice sprawling pick of the throw at first base to complete the play.
Together, the two defensive gems helped support Latos' six shutout innings and gave the offense time to get going. Abreu's two-run homer in the sixth would give the White Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish, thanks to Lawrie's leather and four runs in the ninth.
Manager Robin Ventura praised the defense for helping Latos put up zeros in the fifth and sixth, saying Lawrie "made a nice play up the middle. There are some plays there that got us out of some tight spots."
Alluding to the need of the defense to hold up its end of the bargain, Ventura added "we're gonna have to be able to … catch it, and he did a nice job of sprawling up the middle and getting it to second."
Unfortunately for Lawrie, this is the South Siders' only visit to Oakland all season, and they don't play the A's again until they come to Chicago on Aug. 19-21.
Joe Chasan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.