When all hope was lost, the Oakland Athletics (23-62) delivered. If only because they are a very unique ballclub completing one of the weirdest seasons ever, the A's defeated the Chicago White Sox 7-6 in the 10th innings on Saturday to win back-to-back games for the first time since June 13.
The victory also earned Oakland their first series victory since early June when they swept the Milwaukee Brewers three times on the road. The A's will have a chance at earning their second sweep of the year on Sunday when they'll face Chicago on the series finale before taking Monday off.
The game began with Kyle Muller (1-4) taking the mound for the Athletics after getting recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on the very morning of Saturday. Muller, who had pitched more than a few times before this season, completed a good-not-great game against the Sox but he did more than enough to help the A's win this one. A win's a win, I guess.
Muller completed five full innings of play giving up three runs on six hits. See what I was saying? Good, not great. He also walked four batters while striking out four more and conceding a homer. His ERA stayed at a putrid 7.79, which is definitely closer to good than great if anything.
The Sox came out firing but it was the A's who took an early 1-0 lead through one inning that quickly turned into a 1-1 tie and then a Sox 3-1 lead three frames into Saturday's game. Too bad for the visitors, they wouldn't add their next three runs until the eighth inning with Oakland slowly but surely crawling their way back to make it a ballgame.
Tony Kemp, who has forgotten how to hit a baseball without said hit turning into a triple, earned a three-bag dash for the second time in as many days putting the A's up following a sac fly by JJ Bleday just five pitches into yesterday's affair.
The game went bananas as things unfolded, with the Chicago White Sox thinking they had (almost) won it when Tim Anderson hit a ball past the fences for a grand slam that would have put Chicago up 10-4... only for the umpires to review the flight and deny the Sox such a bomb ruling the hit ball out of play.
The A's, already saved by the bell, or the replay (whatever you prefer), were good enough to make it past the regular nine innings thanks to little contributions through the final innings of Saturday's game. The thing is, Oakland saved the best of their game for the 10th and final frame.
Tyler Wade was put in second base to kick things off in the final inning of play. JJ Bleday hit a ball toward second base that Elvis Andrus mishandled. Wade rushed the bases like a madman with his buttocks on fire, never stopped running, and crossed home plate before the ball arrived (way late) from first base.
The A's won. The Sox lost.
Esteury Ruiz stole his 42nd base this season, a franchise rookie record that had remained untouched since 1977. Shintaro Fujinami of all men pitched the 10th inning and got the win. Some things you just cannot explain. Don't even try, it's the A's.
Oakland has a chance to sweep a professional baseball team inside the Coliseum on Sunday, provided they can win a third game in a row, something they have certainly not done more times than not this season.