The A’s night began with Jesse Hahn hitting three batters in three innings, allowing four runs, and being unable to finish the fourth.
While the bleeding stopped, after Pat Venditte replaced Hahn, it took the A’s a while to get their bats going. Four innings, to be exact, to score two runs and tie the score heading into the ninth inning.
A perfect final frame for Tyler Clippard (W, 1-3, 3.20 ERA) led to a single hit by Sam Fuld. Despite the best efforts of Rangers relief pitcher Keone Kela, Fuld stole second, with Kela (L, 4-3, 2.42 ERA) attempting to pick him five times.
Billy Burns drove Fuld to third, tapping a lazy single to shortstop, and out-hustling the throw for a single. Josh Reddick nearly duplicated the play, this time to second, with Fuld beating the throw home for the A’s first walkoff win of the season by a score of 5-4, and pie to go around.
Oakland is the last team in the majors this year to win in such a manner; the A’s had 13 last season. Reddick, who was the pie-guy in 2014, got a face full and some Gatorade to boot:
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve lost a lot of one-run ballgames. And for us to be on the winning side of it is something to feel good about.”
Reddick’s walkoff hit was sharply to second, and with the infield playing in to protect against a squeeze play, former A’s catcher Adam Rosales, now the Rangers’ second baseman, dove to keep it from touching the outfield grass.
Once Rosales hit the deck, it was clear to Reddick, manager Bob Melvin, and the rest of the A’s dugout, that the game would be decided in their favor.
“We used to specialize in (walkoff wins) here for quite awhile, so it was nice to be able to come back and tie it from 4-2, and certainly to come back and score another run. It was a good feeling.”
Oakland has been looking from contributions from top to the bottom of the order, and got them for the most part.
The A’s chipped away, literally at some points, and got one put away. Melvin said:
“Those are guys you expect to have big hits for you. Middle of the order guys, Zobrist and (Billy) Butler and (Fuld) has been scuffling some, but you always feel good about tight games. Whether it’s defense, baserunning, putting the ball in play. Things that Fuld is used to doing and has been very good at doing.”
While it ended well, the initial outlook wasn’t pretty. Hahn’s 3-2/3 innings pitched match his career shortest start, a 2014 outing versus Pittsburgh while he was a member of the Padres.
The bullpen came through, throwing 5-1/3 scoreless innings, including three strikeouts from Venditte over 2-1/3 innings. Melvin touched on the night’s pitching:
“(The bullpen) was probably the key to the game. Jesse (Hahn) was just a little bit off, you could see the ball strike ratio, the whole game he was throwing more balls than strikes. And we’re trying to get him through a couple of innings there.”
Hahn was nearly lifted after the second inning, but Melvin didn’t want to use seven innings of bullpen.
“What Venditte did was terrific, and then Fernando Abad coming in and contributing, having an easy inning. … The whole bullpen was probably the key to the game.”
Vogt iced up and walking with a limp
Mainstream hip hop generally discusses being iced up and easing one’s gait with a limp as a positive thing. In the case of A’s catcher Stephen Vogt, it’s not that way.
Vogt was having trouble maintaining a steady stride in the clubhouse after Wednesday’s game, and had ice wrapped from top to bottom around his left leg, as well as his right arm.
Vogt has been the A’s best player this season, hitting .293 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI, but may take a day off Thursday, especially since the A’s play during the day.
The team didn’t announce anything, and Vogt’s status remains up in the air until Thursday morning, though a betting man would air on the side of rest.
No scheduling swap if there’s a game 7
If the Warriors come home to Oracle for game 7 of the NBA Finals, the A’s will still play at their regularly scheduled 6:35 first pitch time, a club official confirmed.
The Warriors would tip off at 6 p.m., and the A’s getting an early start due to a scheduled fireworks show.