The Oakland Athletics were able to squeak out a win against the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings at the O.Co Coliseum on Wednesday night with a walk-off infield single from Ike Davis. The A’s young starter Sonny Gray had an ok outing, going seven innings, giving up nine hits, and striking out three in 103 pitches. Toronto’s Felix Doubront did not fare as well and was taken out after only 4.2 innings. He gave up seven hits and three runs in that time. Even though the A’s led throughout the majority of the second half of the game, closer Tyler Clippard walked in the tying run in the ninth inning. Fortunately, Davis came off the bench and promptly hit an infield walk-off single to win it in for the A’s in the bottom of the tenth.
This game was a grind from the beginning. The Blue Jays scored first in the top of the third when former Athletic Josh Donaldson singled to drive in Devon Travis. However, the A’s rallied back in the fourth inning when newcomer Jake Smolinski reached second on a throwing error by Donaldson. Smolinski was then driven in by rookie catcher Josh Phegley, who singled to center field.
It was not a tie game for long as Oakland was able to take the lead in the fifth inning. Billy Burns singled a ground ball to center field after Marcus Semien grounded out to start the inning. With Stephen Vogt at the plate, Burns stole second in order to get into scoring position. Vogt then hit a grounder to center field to score Burns and put the A’s up 2-1.
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Ben Zobrist improved the A’s chances of extending their lead with a line drive double to right field, which moved Vogt to third. With two men in scoring position and one out, Doubront intentionally walked Billy Butler, who has recently had a hot bat, to load the bases. Smolinski then stepped up to the plate and completed a successful sacrifice fly to score Vogt from third. The A’s were not able to earn anymore runs in the fifth, but came out of the inning with a 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately, Gray gave up a first-pitch home run to Danny Valencia to start off the seventh inning. With the A’s now only leading by one run going into the ninth, Clippard came into the game to complete the save opportunity. However, he loaded the bases, walked in a run, and ultimately finished the top of the ninth with a tie game. The Athletics were unable to score in the bottom of the frame, and the game went into extra innings.
In the tenth, Fernando Rodriguez came into the game to take over for Clippard and had a successful 1-2-3 outing. The A’s readied themselves for an extra innings win. With one out in the bottom of the tenth, Josh Reddick, who came in as a defensive substitution for Smolinski in the top of the inning, lined a double to left field. Lawrie then grounded out to advance Reddick to third base. Finally, Davis came off the bench to pinch hit for Phegley. Davis came through for the A’s by beating out an infield single for a walk-off hit in the bottom of the tenth inning. Toronto did try to challenge the safe call at first, but the play was too close to be turned over. Davis was ruled safe at first after the review and the A’s had their second walk-off win in extra inning in the past four games.
The Athletics’ defense looked strong tonight. From Smolinski making diving catches in right field to Lawrie wrangling a ball that ricocheted off of Gray to Zobrist completing numerous quality plays in the middle infield, the A’s defense made no mistakes and helped them out of some sticky situations throughout the night. They were able to make it through the entire ten innings without committing a single error.
Clippard did not look his best tonight. In the ninth inning, Clippard loaded the bases with no outs. Despite striking out Toronto’s two major sluggers Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, Clippard walked in the tying run and had to throw a total of 40 pitches in order to get three outs. Luckily, he was able to leave the inning having only given up one run instead of completely surrendering the lead.
- Burns had his 28th multi-hit game of the season. This is the most multi-hit games among all rookies as Burns continues to make his case as a Rookie of the Year candidate.
- Against his former team, Donaldson has committed an error in two consecutive games while back in his old park.
- Only four days later, history repeated itself tonight as the A’s scored the winning run in the tenth inning after a blown save by Clippard. The last time Clippard blew a save was on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning. But, like tonight, the A’s rallied to win it in the tenth inning.
Oakland’s veteran ace Scott Kazmir (5-5, 2.38 ERA) will take the bump against Toronto’s Drew Hutchison (9-2, 5.19 ERA), who has been horrible on the road this season. While many expected that Kazmir’s last outing on Saturday would be his final start with the Athletics, it seems as though he will survive one more game with Oakland before the trade deadline. If Kazmir has another good outing tomorrow, the chances of him being traded after this game will only grow.