Oakland Athletics

A’s rookie Matt Olson hits rare homer off Orioles’ closer Zach Britton


Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum in Oakland was already a great day for the Oakland Athletics long before Matt Olson stepped up to the plate to face Baltimore Orioles’ closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Oakland Athletics were already up by the score of 8-3 and were on the verge of getting a much needed win in front of the home crowd. 

Oakland Athletics Matt Olson hits rare home run off of Orioles Zach Britton

Matt Chapman celebrates his 3-run home run. [Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]

After falling behind the Orioles and starter Jeremy Hellickson 2-0, the A’s came roaring back in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring five runs.

The biggest three of those runs coming off the bat of rookie Matt Chapman.

The A’s added one run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Semien and two more in the seventh on a home run by Matt Joyce.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter decided to bring in his closer, Britton, to give him a little work. At least that was the assumption because it was definitely a non-save situation.

Britton is one of the league’s elite closers, despite struggling a bit this season. A two-time all-star, he lead the league in games finished in 2015 and 2016, also leading the league in saves in 2016. That year he had one of the most premiere seasons that the game had ever seen by a reliever.

Oakland Athletics rookie Matt Olson hits rare home run off of Orioles' closer Zach Britton

Orioles’ closer Zach Britton [Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]

He finished 63 games, pitching 67.0 innings while collecting 74 strikeouts. Of those 63 games finished, he ended the season going 47 for 47 in save opportunities and posted a 0.54 ERA. He even finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting, an award that hasn’t been won by a closer since the A’s own Dennis Eckersley won both the AL Cy Young and AL MVP in 1992.

It was an unbelievable season for Britton who allowed only one home run all-season in April of 2016.  And even though he’s struggled in 2017 posting a 3.18 ERA, he’s still 10 for 10 in save opportunities and had yet to allow another home run. 

But that streak ended Sunday when the rookie, Olson, took a 0-1 fastball and launched it over the right field fence to give the A’s what would be their final total of nine runs. 

However, what made Olson’s home run special was not that he broke Britton’s long homer-less streak but he became the first left-handed batter to homer off of Britton since 2013.

At the end of the day the Oakland Athletics got the win — mainly thanks to the three homers by the three players named “Matt” on their 25-man roster. Now I didn’t make this up myself but picked it up on Twitter and it’s pretty funny — someone tweeted that the A’s performed a “Matt Trick.”** LOL!! 😀

**For anyone unfamiliar with what I am talking about here — when one player scores three goals in a single game in hockey, it is called a “Hat Trick” and traditionally everyone in the crowd is supposed to throw their hats onto the ice in celebration and support of that player. That, of course, didn’t happen for Matt Chapman, Matt Joyce and Matt Olson at the Coliseum on Sunday but I found it funny and had to add it into this post nonetheless!

I recently wrote a similar and even more incredible story about homer-less streaks, lefty batters, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox for The Inquisitr which you can find by clicking HERE.  So, check it out! 🙂