Outfielder Luis Barrera might not be in the starting lineup Monday night for the Oakland A’s when they host the Minnesota Twins, but the A’s feel he’s finally ready if called upon.
Barrera hit his first career major-league home run Saturday in dramatic fashion, blasting a three-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the A’s to a 4-3 win in the first game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.
Nearly 10 years since being signed by the A’s out of the Dominican Republic when he was just 16, it was a long time coming.
He started this season at Triple-A Las Vegas before getting promoted to the big-league club on May 9. He had one hit all season for the A’s when he entered Saturday’s game in the eighth inning, and he immediately committed an error in left field that allowed the Angels to score a run.
Barrera got his chance at redemption, though, in the ninth inning, with the A’s down 3-1 with two on and two out. Barrera was facing Angels closer Raisel Iglesias, who was 8-for-8 in save chances until then.
But Barrera got a hold of a pitch from Iglesias and hit a walk-off homer. In doing so, he became the second player in major-league history whose first career homer was a walkoff, with his team trailing by multiple runs and down to its final out.
He got his first start of the season in the second game of the doubleheader and had two hits and a walk.
“I think Luis has matured a lot,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “We kind of sent the message that in order to get back here, he had to establish a better work ethic and understanding of what is required on an everyday basis here. He’s grasped that, and it’s good to see him having success early.”
Left-hander Zach Logue (2-1, 1.35 ERA) will make his third start of the season for Oakland. He has faced the Twins once in his career, the start coming earlier this season when he got the loss after allowing two runs in five innings.
Right-hander Chris Archer (0-1, 4.43) will make his seventh start of the season for Minnesota, still looking for his first victory.
But the Twins, who will start a six-game trip on Monday, believe Archer had a breakthrough moment recently when he hit 95.6 mph on the radar gun, his highest velocity since 2019. Archer is returning from a variety of injuries (hip, shoulder, forearm) that have derailed his career in recent seasons.
He credits his return to health to a new offseason training program.
“Getting this part of your body, from your rib cage to your glutes, strong and sturdy,” Archer said. “Not like ‘400 pounds you can squat’ strong, but like ‘how long can you stand here holding a band so your core is engaged and you’re on one leg?’ Because that’s what you do. Kind of like a blend of Pilates, Yoga and traditional strength training.”
Archer is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three career starts against Oakland.
–Field Level Media