It was seen as a low-risk move by the Oakland Athletics to sign Brandon Inge after he was let go by the Detroit Tigers. Offensively there didn’t seem to be high expectations for him as he had struggled in 2011 hitting just .197 in 102 games in 2011 and starting the 2012 season hitting just .100 before the Tigers let him go. Inge signing became a necessity because the A’s third basemen platoon of Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard struggled at the plate and in the field, yet the one thing that Inge has shown throughout his career is that he’s an excellent defensive third basemen.
Tonight Inge made his home debut for the A’s and was slotted into the fifth spot in the lineup and on the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays was Ricky Romero who has dominated the A’s. Jarrod Parker got the start for the A’s as Brandon McCarthy who was scheduled to pitch the game was moved back to Saturday due to shoulder soreness. Both Romero and Parker struggled to find the strike zone with the two combining for 10 walks, yet each pitcher was able to minimize any damage due to the walks.
Each pitcher did give up a two-run home run, Parker to Kelly Johnson and Romero to Josh Reddick. Parker went seven innings and Romero six innings and the game became interesting in the ninth inning. Grant Balfour who has struggled of late gave up a leadoff triple to Eric Thames, the A’s then brought the infield in and Balfour was able to get Brett Lawrie to ground out to Jemile Weeks for the first out, Balfour struggled to find the strike zone with Colby Rasmus and walked him on four pitches, Omar Vizquel pinch hit and for some inexplicable reason he bunted the ball up in the air which was caught for the second out of the inning. Johnson then ripped a single to right field to give the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead and Balfour was able to get Yunel Escobar to ground into a fielders choice to end top of the ninth inning.
Francisco Cordero was brought into close the game out for the Blue Jays and Michael Taylor was the first batter he faced and Taylor was able to take an offspeed pitch down the right field line for a double, Weeks then sacrificed putting Taylor on third base with one out. Cliff Pennington came through with a single and then got into the head of Cordero who was constantly throwing over trying to keep Pennington close, yet even with the throws to first base it didn’t work as Pennington easily stole second, Reddick ended up walking, after a passed ball in the dirt to Jonny Gomes the A’s had runners on second and third, so Gomes was walked as well.
So, Inge who had struck out twice, grounded out, grounded into a double play, had a chance with the bases loaded and one out. The Blue Jays brought in Jose Bautista from the outfield and had five infielders, all Inge had to do was get the ball into the air and now that fifth at-bat will now be etched in the memory of A’s fans. Inge not only got the ball in the air, he also hit the ball over the fence for a walk-off grand slam! Inge now joins Mark Ellis, Mark McGwire who did it twice, Gene Tenace and Tony Armas as the only other players who have hit walk-off grand slam for the franchise in Oakland.
While history has shown with Inge he isn’t going to hit for a particularly high average he has come up with a number of big hits in the handful of games he’s been with the team. He now has two home runs two home runs and nine rbi since joining the team and so far the signing has worked out great for the A’s.
May 8th is also an important date in Athletics history as well as Catfish Hunter in 1968 threw a perfect game.
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