For 8 2/3 innings tonight it looked like Dan Straily was going to get the victory in his major league debut. Unfortunately for Straily a 3 run home run by Jeff Mathis in the top of the ninth inning turned this game into a marathon. But for the second time in a week the A’s went 15 innings before winning on their 13th walk off of the year for a final of 5-4.
Straily was impressive in his major league debut. After struggling to put batters away in the first inning he settled down and for a time he looked like a pitcher that has been here before. His fastball looked like his best pitch tonight as he effectively mixed in his slider and change up to get guys swinging. Straily ended up going 6 innings allowing five hits one walk, one run while striking out five.
After the game Melvin said, “You could tell he had some nerves early on…But he got better as the game went along.”
The A’s would get on the board early with an RBI single from Inge in the second that scored Cespedes from second. This was followed by home runs from Gomes and Carter in the third and fourth innings and a sac fly from Reddick in the fifth. Toronto would add on a run of their own in the third, making the score 4-1 when Straily left the game.
Balfour came in and rocked the seventh and eighth innings, pitching perfect baseball while striking out three. All seemed calm when Cook came in to pitch the ninth.
Cook would strike out the first two hitters of the night and the fans were getting ready for an early fireworks show. But after two singles from Cooper and Davis, things got interesting. Cook would get ahead 0-2 on Mathis but Mathis fought his way back in a gritty at bat to work it to 3-2.
Cook threw a challenge fastball over the plate 3-2 and Mathis crushed it over the wall in left center field as 30,000+ fans quickly sat back down.
Cook is now 11 for 17 in save opportunities. Those six blown saves are tied for most in the American League. To put that in perspective, Balfour was seven for nine in save chances before being demoted from the role. Cook may be an All-Star but his inconsistency has got to be a concern for the A’s going forward.
The A’s didn’t do much in the bottom of the ninth but they had a chance in the 10th. After a one out single from Weeks and back to back walks fromCoco and Gomes, the A’s had bases loaded with one out for The Spiderman Josh Reddick. But Reddick would strike out looking on a 2-2 curveball and Brandon Moss would ground out to end the inning.
The Jays had their own chance to win the game in the top of the 12th. With Omar Vizquel standing on first, Colby Rasmus hit a ball to left that Moss had trouble fielding. Vizquel and the Jays were aggressive as he tried to score on the play, but a great relay from Moss to Inge to Norris would nail Vizquel at the plate, keeping it all tied up at 4.
The 13th and 14th innings passed by and it seemed like this game was never going to end. No momentum on either side of the field led to quick innings and lousy baseball. But finally things came to life in the 15th inning.
Weeks hit a shot over the first baseman’s head that rolled all the way to wall. Weeks quickly kicked it into gear and slid into third base with a lead off triple. Cococame up to bat and just as quickly hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to easily score Weeks from third. Cocodid a little Bernie dance, Reddick comes out in full Spiderman get up to pie him and everyone got to enjoy some fireworks.
It wasn’t the best game for the A’s but a win is a win. Will see how much they got in the tank tomorrow in the early afternoon as A.J. Griffin takes on Ricky Romero at 1:05 pm.
- Cespedes left the game with a strained right wrist and is considered day to day and doubtful for tomorrow.
- Brandon Inge extended his hit streak to a career tying best 13 games
- Coco Crisp now has three walk off at bats this year, two of which have come on sacrifice flies.