OAKLAND -- The A's have been waiting since the All-Star break for a big Coco Crisp breakout, and he might have struck the kind of blow Tuesday night that serves up some long-overdue hot Coco.
Crisp broke a 1-1, fourth-inning tie with a bases-loaded, rifle-shot triple down the right field line to lead Oakland to a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets at the Coliseum and snap the club's season-worst five-game losing streak.
How big was it to see three runs cross the plate on one swing of the bat by Crisp?
"It felt like 10 runs at the time," said manager Bob Melvin.
Indeed, the way the A's have been going at the plate, it did. And for the big hit to come from Oakland's veteran leadoff man made it all the more significant.
Crisp has been in one of his worst funks since coming to the A's in 2010. He went 2 for 23 on the club's 1-6 trip and was 9 for 73 (.123) since the break heading into this latest game. He hadn't had a multi-hit game since July 8, also the date of his last stolen base.
While many fans have pointed to the trade of Yoenis Cespedes as the primary reason for the A's recent offensive struggles, the virtual absence of Crisp's production may be the real reason Oakland has had such trouble scoring. He is their igniter, their chief speed threat, and a player who can carry a team when he's on a roll.
With crucial series against the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners on the horizon, the A's can only hope Crisp is about to go on a tear. For his part, he thinks he's finally figuring some things out, even resorting to picking up a bat at home to try and devise an effective batting position.
"I've got a bat in my house, just in case I get an intruder," he said. "But it works for this purpose, too, and I try to get some sort of setup or feel, then bring it to the field the next day and hope it works. None of it was working, but a couple of days ago, I found something that felt comfortable."
So what has he tried?
"I've been manipulating my stance or choking up on the bat or moving my position in the box trying to figure out something that might work," he said. "I've been dealing with some stuff where I have to make an adjustment to be successful."
Crisp got going early with a single in the third inning, when the A's loaded the bases with two outs but failed to score when Josh Donaldson struck out against Mets starter Dillon Gee.
In the fourth inning, the A's loaded the bases again against Gee on a Stephen Vogt one-out single, a Derek Norris double into the left field corner and a Josh Reddick walk. Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly brought home Oakland's first run, which tied the score 1-1, and Eric Sogard drew a two-out walk to load the bases for Crisp.
On a 1-0 pitch, Crisp took a big rip and slashed a liner into the right field corner, clearing the bases and giving Oakland a 4-1 lead.
The big hit seemed to buoy starter Scott Kazmir, who required 51 pitches to get through his first three scoreless innings and then surrendered a solo home run to the Mets' Travis d'Arnaud to open the top of the fourth.
But following the Crisp game-breaker, Kazmir (14-5) didn't allow a hit over his final two innings and finished his 105-pitch night with a 1-2-3 top of the sixth. Kazmir wound up allowing four hits and three walks while striking out six.
"It was huge to get that big inning," Kazmir said. "I was able to go out there and just attack the strike zone. It makes a big difference when you have a lead like that and you can get them on their heels a little bit and be aggressive."
The Mets got a run back in the top of the seventh against reliever Ryan Cook, but the A's closed things out with scoreless innings from Luke Gregerson in the eighth and Sean Doolittle in the ninth, and the A's padded their lead when Reddick launched a two-run homer to right against Mets reliever Gonzalez Germen. It was Reddick's ninth homer of the year.
Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.
N.Y. Mets (Zack Wheeler 8-8) at A's (Jeff Samardzija 5-9), 12:35 p.m. CSNCA
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