At tail end of strong season, veteran outfielder hopes to return to Oakland in '18
By Alex Simon
OAKLAND -- A's outfielder Matt Joyce capped off Oakland's home slate with a career day.
Joyce doubled three times -- a career high -- in the first four innings, scored once and knocked in one to help the A's take an early lead on Wednesday afternoon. Though the Mariners fought back to tie it, Oakland won, 6-5, on its 11th walk-off of the season.
"It's a lot of fun," Joyce said of his day. "It's a lot more fun when you do well, and it's a lot of fun when you win. For us, it's kind of fitting to end the home season finale with a walk-off. Obviously, that was pretty special and a lot of fun for us as a team."
Joyce's big day gives him 33 doubles on the season, setting a new career-high for the 33-year-old. He also has a career-high 24 homers and 66 walks.
"Matt has had a great season for us," manager Bob Melvin said. "He really has. You look at the walks, you look at the on-base [percentage]. The hits he's come up with, the home runs, the doubles. That ended up being a really good signing for us."
Joyce struggled out of the gate this season, batting .191 through the end of May. But he started to pick things up in June, batting .264 with 26 doubles and 19 homers over the last four months of the season.
"Since then, he's been really consistent," Melvin said. "A left-handed bat, last few years we haven't had on-base guys. We needed a guy like him. [Executive vice president of baseball operations] Billy [Beane] and [general manager] David [Forst] did a good job targeting him early in the offseason."
In his 10th season in the Majors, Joyce is one of the few veterans left in the A's clubhouse and understands the trials that 162 games can bring, but he has come to really enjoy the youthful energy in Oakland. While he knows that baseball is a business, having been traded in the offseason twice before, Joyce is hopeful he sticks with Oakland for the remaining year on his contract.
"I've learned a lot from the people that are here in this organization," Joyce said. "It's been a great opportunity. It's been a very rewarding opportunity, in more ways than one.
"Hopefully, nothing happens to where I'm not coming back next year and we can keep this thing rolling, because we have a lot of young, talented guys that make it fun to show up to the ballpark every day and bring a lot of energy to the field. It's been a fun year."
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.