Not only was it the final regular season game for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at the Oakland Coliseum, but the game went 18 innings, making the A’s the first team to play two games of at least 18 innings in the same season in decades.
The A’s already played a 19-inning game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 29 and won, and they did the same today by the score of 3-2 in one less inning.
In the 18th, rookie Nate Freiman stepped in against Rivera and cracked a broken-bat RBI single to left, securing the win in walk-off fashion in what became longest game time-wise in Oakland Coliseum history.
It’s been a remarkable run for Freiman, who was named the American League’s Rookie of the Month for May after hitting .351 on the month. When the A’s called him up in early April, he wasn’t really expected to be a key factor, but he’s quickly made quite a name for himself in a platoon situation with Brandon Moss at first base.
Freiman, who hadn’t appeared above Double-A in his career prior to being picked up by Oakland on a waiver claim in late March, is on track for what has to be called one of the more surprising first seasons in recent history.
Picking up a game-winning hit against the game’s most historic closer will go a long way toward adding to his ongoing legend, so we’ll have to see what he has in store next.