The Oakland Athletics did the unthinkable and beat the Texas Rangers for the American League West title. It did not come easy even after scoring the first run of the game as rookie starter A.J. Griffin wasn’t able to make it through two fulling meaning that the bullpen needed to come up big.
Evan Scribner did just that after the Rangers went up 5-1 as he did not allow a run in three innings of work. He gave up two hits and struck out two while not walking a batter.
When Scribner was removed Jerry Blevins came in to face Josh Hamilton and he struck out. The opening of the seventh inning was greeted by Adrian Beltre with a lead off single. Ryan Cook came in to face Nelson Cruz who doubled down the right field line.
A great chance for the Rangers with Michael Young up and yet he grounded out to third and David Murphy and Mike Napoli each struck out ending the threat. By getting out of the inning without giving up a run it illustrates how the A’s have come from 13 games behind and have the chance at winning the division.
It was only a matter of time before the A’s made a comeback and it happened in the fourth inning against starter Ryan Dempster. Brandon Moss who had earlier in the game drove in the first run of the game with a rbi double, walked. Josh Reddick then doubled him in and Josh Donaldson followed up with a single moving Reddick to third.
Seth Smith fell behind 0-2, yet worked the count and singled driving in another run. Ron Washington had seen enough of Dempster and brought in Derek Holland. In a corresponding move Bob Melvin pinch hit for starting catcher George Kottaras with Derek Norris who grounded out to second allowing both runners to move up to second and third.
Holland got Cliff Pennington to pop out and it looked like the threat was over, yet Coco Crisp had other ideas. On the first pitch he saw he ripped a double down the right field line to tie the game up and Stephen Drew had a very good at-bat and walked giving Yoenis Cespedes a chance to give the A’s the lead and he hit a shallow fly ball to center field for what looked like the third out of the inning. Yet, Josh Hamilton misplayed it and the ball dropped allowing for two runs to score. From down 5-1, the A’s took a 7-5 lead.
Norris added a rbi single in the fifth increasing the lead to three and then four with a solo home run in the eighth inning. The game got blown open on a three run double by Moss.
An amazing season ending in a division title on a great comeback and bullpen work is a fitting end to a magical season that featured 14 walk-off wins, five rookie starting pitchers and more importantly the only day in first place on the last day of the season.
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