A's stick with Soto to combat running game

A's stick with Soto to combat running game

ARLINGTON -- In an effort to combat the Rangers' running game in a crucial Game 162, the A's stuck with Geovany Soto behind the plate Sunday, opting to keep Derek Norris on the bench -- a formula this club would likely emulate in potential postseason play.

"This is a very aggressive team on the bases, and he's done a really nice job of shutting them down," manager Bob Melvin said of Soto. "He's done a nice job throwing the ball, regardless, and he's swinging the bat here recently, too.

"Couple that with Derek being available to come off the bench against a lefty, too, and all things combined, that was the decision. And Derek knows that. I talked to him about it this morning."

Soto has thrown out eight of 16 runners since joining the A's, including two on Saturday night. Norris has also thrown out eight, but in 68 attempts for an 11.8 percent success rate, the lowest in the Majors. It's also the lowest mark in Oakland history, previously held by Kurt Suzuki (13.2 percent, 2010).

Norris has also been struggling at the plate. He was batting .303 at the conclusion of play on Aug. 2 but is hitting just .221 in 45 games since. Soto's average since joining the A's on Aug. 24 (.231) isn't overwhelming, but he's already come through in key situations numerous times, collecting eight RBIs in 13 games.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.