Vogt, Valencia rise up to fill void in A's lineup

Vogt, Valencia rise up to fill void in A's lineup

OAKLAND -- When Josh Reddick fractured his thumb, the A's were immediately faced with the question of who would replace the production of one of their hottest hitters.

Enter the tandem of Danny Valencia and Stephen Vogt, who have convincingly assumed a significant portion of that burden, and did so loudly Tuesday night in a 7-4 win over the Twins.

Vogt and Valencia combined for five hits and five RBIs from the third and fourth spots in the lineup, respectively. Valencia lined a two-run homer to right field in the third and added an RBI double in the fifth, scoring Vogt both times, while Vogt added two insurance runs in the eighth on a double. As he rounded into second base, he fittingly flexed both his arms toward the dugout, putting a perfunctory note the A's four-game winning streak.

"Those two guys have been instrumental for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Vogter, that last at-bat was huge to add on a couple more. Good night offensively."

Vogt's two-run double

"They were both big tonight," said John Axford, who earned the save in the ninth. "Tacking on a couple extra going into the ninth definitely eases my shoulders up. You're not quite as tense, you can attack a lot easier that way."

Oakland's received contributions from several others -- Marcus Semien hit an RBI double Tuesday and Khris Davis tied for the league-high in homers (11) in May -- but it's been Valencia and Vogt who have surged.

Valencia's hit .372 since coming off the disabled list May 6, hitting eight homers and driving in 19 runs in 21 games. Both Melvin and Valencia acknowledged the Coliseum's a difficult park to hit a home run to right field, and Vogt said after the game that even Valencia's outs are hit with authority right now. It didn't hurt that it came at the expense of his former team, either.

"I think that there's a little bit more," said Valencia, who broke into the Majors with the Twins. "I don't want to say I bring any more intensity because of them, but I'm definitely wanting to win, being competitive."

Valencia's two-run home run

Vogt's following close behind, hitting .357 over his last 12 games and riding an eight-game hitting streak. He's primarily taken over Reddick's third spot in the order.

"I feel good," Vogt said. "Obviously, we've won four in a row. It's a good feeling we have in here right now. I feel like we're playing good, complete baseball. Guys are coming through with timely hitting and we haven't had that all year."

With Reddick expected to remain sidelined until at least mid-June, the A's will continue to rely on Vogt and Valencia, hoping the rest of the lineup follows suit.

"Good hitters are going to rise to the occasion," Melvin said. "We have a few guys, whether it was Davis early in the season, guys with track records of hitting. Vogter was an All-Star last year, so it was just a matter of time he squared some balls up and got some big hits for us."

Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in Oakland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.