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A’s walk off 12-11 in the 14th, sweep White Sox

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After a five hour-and-48 minute slugfest, Matt Olson‘s two-out walkoff liner off the left field wall in the 14th inning propelled the Oakland Athletics to a 12-11 victory and series sweep over the Chicago White Sox.

The A’s (9-10) must have just been waiting for a fan to catch a fly ball, which happened in the top of the 14th to an ovation from the few Oakland faithful left. After helping Oakland secure its first sweep of the season, Olson said:

“We kept battling back and answering after however many runs they put up…it was a good win for us…I haven’t had a perfect start (to the season) in my mind… but the longer the game went on, the better I felt I played.”

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

The White Sox (4-11) struck first thanks to a two-out single by left fielder Nicky Delmonico in the top of the first inning. Prior to the run, A’s left fielder Matt Joyce made a spectacular diving catch earlier in the inning that saved extra bases, and likely another run.

Joyce was ready to contribute on offense right off the bat as well. He scored the first run of the game for Oakland on a fielder’s choice after hitting a ringing lead-off double to right-center field.

Athletics starter Andrew Triggs (ND, 1-0, 5.82 ERA) continued to struggle with his command in the second. He walked two of the first three batters he faced in the inning to load the bases with nobody out. Sox center fielder Adam Engel kept them loaded with a single that scored the runner from third, giving his team the early 2-1 advantage.

Two pitches later, second baseman Yoán Moncada promptly unloaded the bases with his first career grand slam, and the first slam of 2018 for Chicago. This gave the Sox a 6-1 advantage after hanging a five-spot in the inning.

Triggs was unable to make it through this difficult top of the second, and ended with two walks, one hit batter and six runs allowed in 1-1/3 innings. Triggs commented on his performance:

“My command and stuff were both pretty lousy, and I think the results showed it…but if there’s a silver lining, obviously we won the game, which is hands down the most important thing…[and] physically, I feel fine.”

It would have been easy, maybe even expected, for the A’s to throw in the towel right there, particularly coming off of the excitement of Tuesday night’s celebration and having already secured a series victory. However, center fielder Mark Canha started the comeback on the second pitch of the bottom half of the second, lining it to left field for his second homer of the year.

They proceeded to load the bases against Chicago starter Carson Fulmer (ND, 0-1, 7.59 ERA) with no outs, and his afternoon ended after back-to-back walks.

From here, the 6-2 game became a bullpen contest for the remaining 12 plus frames. Two more runs crossed the plate for the A’s in the second against Sox reliever Héctor Santiago, trimming the deficit to 6-4 Chicago.

The White Sox retaliated in the top of the fourth inning, though. Relievers Danny Coulombe allowed two runs and Santiago Casilla gave up one to stretch the Sox lead to 9-4.

The back and forth game continued in the bottom of the fourth. The A’s rallied to score four runs with two outs and made it a one run game at 9-8.

This is what the score remained until White Sox right fielder Leury García singled with two outs in the sixth to make it a 10-8 Chicago advantage.

Oakland simply refused to lose, though. The deficit was trimmed back to one in the eighth after catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s sacrifice fly scored right fielder Stephen Piscotty.

Jed Lowrie gave the A’s their first lead of the game at 11-10 with two outs and a full count in the eighth, when he hammered a two run shot into the left field barbecue terrace.

Chicago, down to their last out in the ninth, responded with an RBI single to tie it at 11.

In extra innings, both offenses cooled off until Olson’s hit, set up by a Marcus Semien two-out single and a pair of walks by Chicago starter turned reliever James Shields (L, 1-1, 4.50 ERA) finally ended the marathon game. Manager Bob Melvin said about the win:

“This felt like two games, so … to come back the way we did continually … you’ve used your entire bullpen, we’re basically one inning away from using a position player after fighting that hard … certain games mean a little bit more than others.”

Rookie Lou Trivino (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA), who made his major league debut just one day earlier, was credited with his first win.

On Deck

Righty Kendall Graveman (0-3, 9.87 ERA) is expected to take the hill for his fifth start of the season Friday against the Boston Red Sox (14-2) and left-hander and former-Athletic Drew Pomeranz (season debut). Graveman has allowed at least four runs in five innings or less in each of his first four starts. First pitch at 7:05.

Notes

There is no timetable for starting pitcher Brett Anderson‘s call-up from Triple-A Nashville after Trevor Cahill‘s strong season debut Tuesday night, manager Bob Melvin said. Anderson is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two appearances with Nashville this season … White Sox pitcher James Shields made his second career relief appearance, and first since 2010.

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