OAKLAND – 15 years ago, Daniel “Jet” Johnson was 10 years old and he could not get enough of the Oakland A’s.
Jermaine Dye was the favorite. Any chance he got Johnson would take BART with his family or friends from nearby Vallejo, California, to the Colosseum. A long concrete bridge connects the BART station with the Colosseum, and Johnson can still remember walking across it eager to see Dye and A’s.
On Sunday, Johnson did not look at the A’s, he was playing against them. Not only did he play against his favorite team growing up, he helped the Indians beat them, 4-2.
“If you told me I would have had that game and played here 15 years ago, I would have told you you’re crazy,” Johnson said. “I never thought I would be here and play at the Colosseum, where I grew up. It’s definitely a blessing to be here right now. ”
Johnson’s big league career consists of 13 games. No one knows which direction this number will take. It does not matter because Sunday was the best of these 13 games a lot.
It started with Johnson’s dive catch in the right field to save a run for Zach Plesac in the second half. He singled and scored in the fifth. In the seventh, with the score tied, 2-2, Johnson delivered the hit he will not forget – an uninterrupted home run to the center field that ended a 10-game winning streak for Oakland ace Chris Bassitt and gave the Indians a 3 -2 lead.
As he rounded third and crossed the plate, he could hear his family and friends cheering from the stands.
“I could hear them coming in from the field and heading for the excavation,” Johnson said.
So could his teammates.
“You have to shout at Jet,” said Plesac, who won his first game since May 18. “I mean, this is Jet’s game today, realistic. He did everything – saved a race in the second half, gets a few hits, clear signal homer and in his hometown.
“It’s just cool for him. It was a cool experience for me to see him do it in front of his family. It’s good to see him out there with things finally going his way, you know what I mean? ”
This was a game for the Indians’ forgotten outfielders – Johnson and Bradley Zimmer. A surprising move from manager Terry Francona put Zimmer in the lead and it must have turned on a fuse inside the 6-5 left-handed hitter.
Zimmer opened the game with a home court on the first pitch. He went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. It was his first three-hit game since 2018, and the last time he ran in three runs was on July 25, 2017 against the Angels. Zimmer, whose play at the center has brought order to a shaky outfield, hit his first and second homers for the season in this series of three games.
Make no mistake, the outfield has a desired desired character set in front of all three positions. If Johnson or Zimmer wants one of those jobs, it’s there. But they have to strike.
Zimmer said he feels more comfortable than he has had for a long time at the record.
“We talked about being athletic and getting himself in a position where he can take more good passes at the ball,” Francona said. “You see several good swings. He is lined out a few times, it will happen. But if it’s the only ball you hit hard, it’s hard to survive.
“We are dying for him to succeed. We’ve told him that. So we pull after him. ”
The same goes for Johnson.
“He can move,” Francona said. “He can move in the field and he can throw. Physically, he can do some things. That’s why we get excited when he starts hitting like that. ”
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