Oakland, CA – Bottom of the ninth, the A’s were down by two and the Baltimore Orioles were in control. A leadoff infield single by Yoenis Cespedes got the rally going for Oakland. Brandon Moss followed with a single before Josh Donaldson’s three-run homer capped off the night.
Donaldson’s walk-off homer lifted the A’s past the Orioles 5-4. He hit his second walk-off of the season and third of his career. Baltimore had regained the lead after Manny Machado went deep to left field with a two-run homer in the seventh. He gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead while reaching base in a career best 17 straight games.
“I enjoy those moments,” said Donaldson. “It’s one of those things where you’ve got to try to relish the opportunity, and anytime I can step up to the plate with an at-bat to help our team win the game or win the game right there, I feel better about it.”
“Sinker… That’s my best pitch,” closer Zach Britton said. “He put a good swing on a good pitch. You kind of just tip your cap to him.”
Donaldson crushed Britton’s first pitch over the left field wall in what seemed like a ball that got lost in the night air. The anticipation that something would happen after Oakland put two on in the corners with no outs brought the crowd of 27,232 to its feet.
“Two good teams, small margin of error,” said Baltimore’s manager Buck Showalter. “I thought Tilly presented himself well against a good team, Tommy threw the ball well. Zach made one bad pitch.”
Jeff Samardzija tossed seven innings in his third start with his new team. He allowed six hits, four runs, one walk, four strikeouts, two hit batters and two home runs. Both Jonathan Schoop and Machado hit a pair of two-run homers off Samardzija.
“The first thing I said when I came here was, ‘I love how these guys play the game, from the first out to the last out. They don’t quit,'” Samardzija said.
Not a bad way to kick off the second half of the season. The A’s got on the board first when Coco Crisp hit a single in the third and advanced to second on a wild pitch. John Jaso followed with a double to right field scoring in Crisp to make it a 1-0 game.
Schoop’s two-run blast put the Orioles up 2-1. Derek Norris went deep in the fifth and tied the game 2-2 before Machado’s two-run homer. But there’s a reason Oakland has the best record in the Majors. They have won nine of their last 12 games and 12 of their last 13 home contests.
“We always have a feeling here at home, when we’re within shouting distance,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “That we have a chance to win. We’re always thinking good things are going to happen.”