Oakland was trailing by three runs going into the seventh inning and headed to an 11th straight loss when Ramón Laureano started screaming at his teammates in the dugout.
“Ramon is passionate,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “That’s the Ramón I’ve always talked about."
Athletics teammates responded.
Seth Brown hit a grand slam to cap a five-run seventh inning, and Oakland stopped a 10-game losing streak — its longest in 11 years — by defeating the Cleveland Guardians 10-5 on Saturday.
“My biggest thing is letting guys be themselves,” Kotsay said. "That’s Ramón being himself — his energy, his passion, his frustrations, kind of came out. That was heard loud and clear in that dugout.”
Laureano was ejected in the middle of the seventh by first base umpire Paul Emmel. Kotsay said Laureano had complained to the umpire that Cleveland's Zach Plesac was quick pitching.
Steven Vogt, Christian Bethancourt and Sean Murphy also homered for Oakland, and Vogt had three hits and was hit by a pitch.
Oakland was outscored 60-20 during its longest skid since the A’s lost 10 in a row from May 30 to June 9, 2011. Oakland lost nine straight this year from April 29 to May 8, giving the A’s a pair of losing streaks of nine or more games in the same season for the first time since 1978.
Frankie Montas (3-6) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings to win for the first time since April 18 against Baltimore. He had been 0-5 in his previous nine starts despite a 2.87 ERA in that span.
Brown’s homer came on a full-count fastball from Eli Morgan with two outs as Oakland rallied from a 5-2 deficit. Brown took a close 2-2 pitch that saw Morgan bounce off the mound thinking it was strike three. Brown sent the next pitch to the right field seats for his first career slam.
Brown received a big ovation from his teammates as he spoke to reporters in Oakland's clubhouse following the win.
“Bases loaded, got to put something in play," he said. "Once I got to 3-2, I was sitting dead-red with that fastball. He didn't want to walk anybody. I'm trying to put up a good at-bat and put something in play pretty hard.”
The Athletics took a 2-0 lead into the fourth, but that quickly disappeared thanks in part to another key hit by José Ramírez, who followed with a dash around the bases. Cleveland scored four times on a throwing error, an RBI groundout, a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring bunt hit.
Vogt and Matt Davidson singled off Plesac to start the seventh. Morgan (2-2) got a strikeout, but first baseman Josh Naylor committed a throwing error on Tony Kemp’s ground ball that scored a run and cost the Guardians a out.
Bethancourt’s infield hit with two outs kept the inning going before Brown delivered, silencing the crowd and causing Oakland's players to leap from the dugout in celebration.
“We haven't had a comeback like that this year,” Kotsay said. “It was good to see obviously with where we are in this stretch to come back and win a game against a good team, a hot team.”
Cleveland had won nine of 11, but gave up eight runs and managed one hit over the final three innings.
“The way the game ended, it’s hard to take because we felt good about things," manager Terry Francona said. "But we need to bounce back quickly.”
Plesac turned in the play of the day when he threw Cristian Pache out at first. Plesac made a barehand grab of the slow roller hit to the right of the mound.
The series finale is scheduled to start at 11:35 a.m. as part of Major League Baseball’s Sunday package with NBC's Peacock streaming service.
“I thought church was too early at 11, so what’s that tell you?” Francona said. “You worry about your (starting pitchers) and things like that because it’s not the norm. If it’s good for the game, I’m OK with that. If we’re trying to grow the game, I get that. We just don’t want to grow it without two of our starters.”
Athletics: 2B Jed Lowrie (wrist, shoulder soreness) was out of the lineup for the second straight game.
Guardians: RHP James Karinchak (strained upper back) struck out one in a scoreless inning on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus on Friday.
Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin (2-2, 3.00 ERA) allowed one run over six innings against the Guardians in Oakland on April 30.
Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.56 ERA) has won his last two starts, pitching into the seventh inning against Kansas City and Texas.
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