A game that seemed as though it would never end became the end of Oakland’s season.
In a one-game Wild Card playoff, the Oakland Athletics fell to the Kansas City Royals, 9-8, in 12 innings to send Kansas City to the American League Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Early on, everything was working. A’s starter Jon Lester (7-1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER) outlasted Royals ace James Shields (5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER) and entered the eighth inning with a four run lead.
But that’s where Oakland’s luck ran out.
Lester allowed three runs, with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and first baseman Eric Hosmer all crossed home closing the margin to one run.
After Jerod Dyson came in to pinch run for Kansas City, eventually stealing third base, Norichka Aoki popped a sacrifice fly to Josh Reddick in right field to tie the game up.
Both teams scored in the 12th inning, though the Royals got the last laugh after an infield single from pinch hitter Christian Colon, who scored the winning run on a Salvador Perez single.
Oakland got two home runs from first baseman Brandon Moss, who’d been mostly silent over the past two months.
The Oakland offense looked just as it did before the All-Star break. Just about everything was going right on offense, and the dugout appeared loose despite the games gravity.
In the end, though, Oakland’s topsy-turny season might go down as the most bizarre, most disappointing ever.
Fans will almost certainly turn to the trade of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the lineup’s most dangerous hitter, despite his mediocre-at-best on base percentage.
Others will simply proclaim that the A’s overachieved during the first half of the season and that when they finally fell back to earth, they did it like they’d returned from vacationing on the moon.
None of it will matter, though. The A’s are going home for the fall, winter and won’t play another meaningful game until April.