By Scott Barancik, editor
A Jewish duo keyed Oakland’s 4-3 win yesterday over the Astros (9/18/2015).
Sam Fuld furnished the glove. Houston was up 2-0 in the 3rd inning and had men on first and second base with no outs when Carlos Correa smashed a shot to left-center. Fuld, playing center, sprinted 58 feet toward left and made a leaping, backhanded catch that evoked memories of his heyday as “Super Sam.”
“We get accustomed to seeing it because [Fuld's] so great at it, but, I mean, it definitely changes the game,” Valencia told MLB.com. “It keeps the runs down; it keeps the score down. If he doesn’t make that play, there’s a good chance we could still be playing or end up on the other side of it.”
Valencia’s homers were his career-high 15th and 16th of the season and marked his first two-dinger game since 9/25/2010, his rookie year with the Minnesota Twins. The Miami native also singled and walked for a perfect day at the plate.
It was a fitting if slightly early birthday present for Valencia, who turns 31 today. Many Blue Jays fans were distraught when Toronto placed the Miami native on waivers earlier this season. Valencia had hit .296 off the bench with 7 HRs, 13 doubles and 29 RBIs in 162 at-bats. One blogger wondered aloud whether Oakland’s pick-up just might be the best mid-season acquisition off waivers in the past decade.
The blogger proved prescient. Since joining Oakland, Valencia has hit shown even more power, hitting .278 with 9 HRs and 31 RBIs in only 133 at-bats. For the full season, he’s hitting .288 with 16 HRs, 60 RBIs, 20 doubles, a .333 on-base percentage, and a .525 slugging percentage.
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