The Oakland Athletics and their fans endured plenty of highs and lows as the A’s battled their way to a walk-off victory against the Texas Rangers.
Tuesday night’s game at the Coliseum left A’s fans feeling like a yo-yo. A’s fans were up when Danny Valencia and Khris Davis hit home runs back-to-back on consecutive pitches in the second inning. Then there was a rapid descent when Nomar Mazara and Adrian Beltre went back to back two innings later. A’s fans bottomed out when Billy Burns‘ error in the fourth put Prince Fielder on third, where he would score on a double play.
But there was a gradual ascent, when Davis hit his second home run in the sixth, and then A’s fans reached new heights when Valencia came through with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to put the A’s on top 4-3. Then the yo-yo went down, down, down when Ryan Madson blew his first save of the year. Ian Desmond ripped a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, and the Oakland Athletics were suddenly losing 5-4.
The bottom of the ninth had its own yo-yo moments. A’s fans were in the depths of despair after the top of the ninth. But then Stephen Vogt led off the bottom of the ninth by beating out a little infield single. And Coco Crisp ripped a double to right. Suddenly, the tying run was on third and the winning run on second with nobody out.
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A’s fans were up. Burns popped up to second base. A’s fans were down. Josh Reddick was given a free pass to load the bases. A’s fans were up. Valencia popped out to shallow right. A’s fans were in agony. Tying run at third!
All the A’s needed was a long fly ball. They were so close. Suddenly there were two outs, and it was going to take a base hit just to tie the game. The A’s were down to their last strike and then… BOOM. Davis comes through with his third home run of the game – a walk-off grand slam.
There were some things that, in all the excitement, A’s fans might have overlooked. Billy Butler made a nice defensive play and almost got a double play at first base. Marcus Semien saved a run by going deep in the hole, snagging a ball on the outfield grass, and throwing out Beltre. Sean Doolittle was once again throwing high, hard heat and getting a lot of K’s. (It seems to me that someone on this website encouraged fans to not get down on Doolittle.) Jesse Hahn pitched a whale of a game. He was in trouble almost every inning against a team that hits .307 with runners in scoring position. Hahn turned in a quality start. It was a shame the A’s could not get him the win. I suspect Hahn will stay in the majors for the foreseeable future.
It was a night of dramatic victory. I do not really believe in momentum, because any major league pitcher is capable of throwing a terrific game and stopping momentum cold. It was an important win because this very young team is beginning to realize how good they really are. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs this year, but after tonight, no true Oakland Athletics fan is going to give up on this team.