Oakland, CA – Bottom of the eighth, the game was tied 6-6. It was a back and fourth match-up all night. Then the man of the night, who was presented with a prestigious award did his part in making sure the A’s lowered their magic number and got the win.
Coco Crisp hit a two-run shot to left field and secured Oakland’s 8-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Crisp was the man of the night after being honored with the Jim “Catfish” Hunter Award.
In memory of the late Hall of Famer, the award honors an A’s player whose play on the field and conduct in the clubhouse best exemplifies the courageous, competitive and inspirational spirit demonstrated by the outfielder who won five World Series during his career in Oakland.
“It caught me by surprise, but I am grateful that everybody feels I’m deserving of this award,” said Crisp. “It’s a pretty amazing feeling coming from your peers. I go out there and try my best, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I just go out there and try to give 100 percent.”
Tonight was another example of why Coco has been a huge asset to this team. Yesterday he hit his 20th home run of the season, and tonight he recorded his 21st home run. All he needs is one more stolen base to become the 10th player (13th time) in Athletics history with 20 homers and 20 steals in a season. The last player to achieve that was Ruben Sierra in 1993.
As the leadoff hitter, Crisp has homered when batting first, which is the most in the American League. He has not committed an error in 102 games in the outfield and his 295 total chances are second most in the AL among outfielders with no errors.
“Very deserving, since I’ve been here, one of, if not the most respected guy in the clubhouse on a daily basis,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin. “So, he could’ve won it last year, the year before that probably and very deserving this year. He was the guy for it this year.”
The win tonight brought down the A’s magic number to four. Oakland’s offense did not disappoint with the long ball tonight. Two home runs from both Alberto Callaspo and Jed Lowrie in the sixth gave the A’s a 6-3 lead but that didn’t stop the Twins from tying the game a fourth time.
The bullpen failed to support starter, Kevin Correia. Four Minnesota relievers combined to yield six runs in three innings, which included Anthony Swarzak who gave up two runs off two hits and didn’t record one out. Correia lasted five frames and exited after throwing 101 pitches.
“They came up with big hits, they kept getting the lead and we kept coming back,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And not only did they jump us, they hit them in the seats. If we could keep them in the ballpark, we might’ve had a better opportunity to win.”
Lowrie’s three-run homer in the sixth untied the game but Minnesota came back to tie it 6-6 after Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo home run in the seventh. And two more runs followed in the eighth with a force out and a RBI single from Brian Dozier.
But no worries, Coco’s bottom of the inning homer put Oakland back on track after losing two of the three games in the previous series against the Los Angeles Angels. It’ll be a matter of time before the A’s clinch and return to the postseason. In the meantime, they will continue to focus on each game.
“I’ve hit for respectable power in the past,” said Crisp. “I’m just having one of those years. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again, but I’m grateful. Hopefully, it will but it is what it is right now, and I’m grateful to be able to do it in a helpful fashion as well.”