Athletics: 12 Rangers: 5
It seems like just yesterday we were all up at 2 AM watching game two of the season. The A’s won that game behind three home runs, tying the Mariners for first place of the AL West. The A’s would never see sole possession of first place until today, the last game of the season and the day when it really mattered.
I can lie to you and tell you I knew this was going to happen back on March 29, but if you have been reading my blog since then you know that I never saw this coming. I have not been the most optimistic fan at times, I can’t count how many times I have hit the panic button and I know I have said over and over again that their run would eventually come to an end. This team has indeed, “shocked the world”.
The A’s found themselves in a really tough position after the top of the third inning. The A’s took the lead in the first off of an RBI double by Brandon Moss, but they would soon find themselves in a four run deficit after A.J. Griffin allowed five runs to the Rangers in the third. He allowed a single to lead off the inning, recorded an out on a ground out by Elvis Andrus, but then gave up back-to-back singles allowing the Rangers to tie it up at 1-1. Nelson Cruz then hit into a force out, but Michael Young followed with an RBI single. David Murphy then singled and Cruz and Young scored. Mike Napoli reached on a fielding error by George Kottaras and Geovany Soto followed up with a single, which scored Murphy. That was it for Griffin, who allowed seven hits, five runs (four earned), and two walks over 2.2 innings. Evan Scribner would come in and record the last out of that nightmarish inning.
The A’s would fight their way back into the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, leading the inning off with a walk by Brandon Moss and an RBI double by Josh Reddick. Josh Donaldson then singled and Seth Smith followed with an RBI single. Derek Holland came in to replace Ryan Dempster and he immediately recorded the first two outs of the inning, but then Coco Crisp doubled and Donaldson and Smith scored tying the game up 5-5. Stephen Drew then drew a walk and Yoenis Cespedes hit, what should have been the final out of the inning, a fly ball that Josh Hamilton missed and both Crisp and Drew were able to score. The A’s scored six runs total in the inning, giving them their final lead of the game.
The A’s would tack on another run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Derek Norris. Derek Norris would also lead off the eighth with a solo home run. The A’s would score three more in the same inning, Brandon Moss would single with the bases loaded, but an error by Nelson Cruz would clear the bases.
With Griffin being pulled in the third inning, the bullpen played a huge part in today’s game. Evan Scribner did an excellent job today, throwing three shut out innings against Texas and only allowing two hits and striking out two. Jerry Blevins closed out the sixth inning by getting the last batter to strike out swinging. Blevins came in to pitch in the seventh inning, but allowed a lead off single to Adrian Beltre before he was replaced by Ryan Cook. Cook allowed a double to Nelson Cruz, but with runners on second and third with no outs, he got Michael Young to ground out to third and then struck out David Murphy and Mike Napoli to end the threat.
Sean Doolittle pitched the eighth inning, he walked one batter and struck out two. Then, despite being up by seven runs, Grant Balfour, deservingly so, got to close out the game. It was a quick inning for him, he got Adrian Beltre to fly out, struck out Nelson Cruz and then recorded the last out of the regular season by getting Michael Young to fly out to center field.
The A’s have two very much needed off days before they head to Detroit to begin game one of the ALDS. Bob Melvin has not named the starters for game one and two, but there’s been murmurs that Brett Anderson could be ready by Saturday. Games three, four and five will be played in Oakland and that will begin on Tuesday, October 9.