Oakland, CA – It was familiar, it’s something they’re used to and today they fought back to victory. In a much need win, the A’s rallied back in the ninth inning behind Jed Lowrie’s walk-off single to beat the Astros 4-3 and even the series while staying alive in the pennant race.
“We’ve won many games like that this year, so hopefully they remember the feeling” said manager Bob Melvin. “It hasn’t been a great feeling, and we haven’t looked like we’ve had the fight that we normally do. We’re not playing very well all the way around, so hopefully a game like that can spur something.”
Down by two runs headed to the bottom of the ninth. Josh Donaldson leadoff with a single and Adam Dunn flew out to center field. Derek Norris singled up the middle and Billy Burns came in to pinch-run for him. Josh Reddick doubled of the center field wall and tied the game after driving in two runs.
“I made it look harder than it was,” Reddick said. “I knew where everyone was playing, I just got conscious about the ball and it wasn’t hit super hard. I kind of hesitated for a second, then hit third, and the next step after third I tripped over myself so, I had to gain my footing again, so I made it a lot closer than I should’ve. But it doesn’t matter how you do as long as you cross the plate before the ball gets there.”
Closer Chad Qualls unraveled in the ninth allowing Oakland’s offense to dominate. Lowrie who fell behind on Qualls, 0-2, found an opening and hit a single driving in Reddick for the win. Lowrie recorded his first walk-off RBI this season and the team recorded their nine walk-off win of the season.
“I feel like if you don’t experience that, then you never really had the A’s experience,” Lowrie said. “That’s something you welcome, not in many situations, but in that for sure.”
“It’s been happening all year, and I’m tired of it,” said Qualls. “Four of my five losses are against them, four of my five blown saves are against them. I’m over it. On the words of Pedro Martinez, ‘In 2014 the Oakland A’s are my daddy.’ What do you want me to do?”
The A’s scored their first run in the third. An error at shortstop allowed Sam Fuld on, Eric Sogard followed with a single and Coco Crisp hit a single to load the bases off Scott Feldman. Brandon Moss’ sacrifice fly scored in their first run making it a 1-0 game but Josh Donaldson hit into a double play to end the inning.
“I was able to attack the strike zone early, ” Scott Kazmir said. “Throwing my cutter a little bit more which helped me out a lot. The sixth and seventh inning, a couple of pitches, didn’t get the result I wanted and it cost me. But a win like this is something that can kick start us and give us that push that we need.”
Kazmir allowed his first hit in the sixth, a bloop single to Carlos Corporan to leadoff the inning. An infield single from Jonathan Villar put two on with no outs. Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly moved Corporan to third. Jose Altuve’s double RBI put the Astros up 2-1. Altuve’s extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.
In the seventh, Kazmir loaded the bases with three walks. He was chased off the mound and the bullpen came in. Dan Otero took over, Grossman hit a sacrifice fly extending the Astro’s lead 3-1. And that would be it for Houston. Oakland’s defense shutdown their offense for good.
“Anytime you go into the ninth winning 3-1 it’s tough when they come back and win the ballgame,” said Astro’s manager Tom Lawless. “But that’s baseball.”
The A’s are in a tight race, they are 5 1/2 back from first place in their division behind the Anaheim Angels who play tonight. They are 2 1/2 games up on the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card race, the Mariners also play tonight. After this win, Oakland has regained their confidence back and will continue to take it one game at a time.