A's on base-stealing tear in second half

A's on base-stealing tear in second half

OAKLAND -- For years, it was rare for the A's to steal bases with regular frequency. Since the All-Star break, though, Oakland's 29 stolen bases are the most in the Majors.

While Rajai Davis and Coco Crisp are team's most proficient base stealers, Cliff Pennington is holding his own. The A's shortstop has stolen 17 bases, which is the second-most on the team, while getting caught twice.

"He's a guy that is a very intelligent baserunner," A's manager Bob Geren said. "It impresses me to the point where he'll see something in timing or some kind of rock back in the pitcher where he can get even a better jump."

Oakland's 94 stolen bases are the fourth-highest total in the American League this year, while its 79.7 percent success rate is second only to Tampa Bay (79.8 percent). It's the second time in 12 years that the A's have stolen at least 90 bases, after stealing 133 last year. Davis' 34 steals are third-best in the American League, while Crisp has 14 in 37 games.

The A's even pulled a double steal with a four-run lead in the eighth inning during Saturday's 6-2 win over the Rangers. Geren said the unwritten rules of baseball have changed over the years, as such actions used to be deemed unethical.

"[The unwritten rule] definitely exists, it's just that line has gone a little further," Geren said. "Since my 30-plus years in the game, there's a lot more bigger, stronger guys who can hit homers and teams score runs in bunches quickly a lot more than they used to 20, 30 years ago."