It was not supposed to happen, the A’s were supposed to lose 100 games and be the laughing stock of the American League. Instead it’s the A’s who are the ones laughing as tonight’s 4-3 victory guaranteed them a playoff spot.
It was a wild night at the O.co Coliseum, and the crowd was energized from the get go. Jarrod Parker looked sharp at times, and shaky at others but it was enough to hold down the Texas Rangers through 6 innings. He did allow 2 home runs, but both were solos.
On the offensive side of things Josh Reddick started off the scoring in the 1st with an RBI single up the middle to drive in Coco Crisp. Then with Chris Carter at 3rd following the Reddick single, Rangers started Martin Perez balked home the second run.
The Rangers would tie the game at 2 after an Elvis Andrus RBI single in the 3rd, and a Michael Young home run in the 4th. The A’s would jump back out in front though in the 5th against Perez and long reliever Scott Feldman.
Mike Napoli would homer in the 6th to cut the lead to just 1, but the A’s bullpen was able to hold the Rangers down. Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook each worked dominant innings in the 7th and 8th innings to pass the baton to Grant Balfour.
With the Coliseum abuzz in anticipation of clinching the team’s first playoff berth in 6 years, Grant Balfour took to the mound ready to throw some serious heat. He struck out Michael Young, David Murphy, and Mike Napoli in succession to lock down the game and send the A’s pouring out onto the field to celebrate the triumph.
Equally intense was the eruption of the crowd, especially in right field where I was located, you could literally feel the stadium shaking. It was quite a moment. Hopefully it’s just the first.
The A’s have more to play for though, they won the first game against the Rangers, but need to take the other 2 in order to take the AL West. After struggling badly in his last 2 starts Travis Blackley attempts to right his own ship against perhaps the Rangers strpmgest starter right now in Matt Harrison. If the A’s can win, Wednesday’s afternoon tussle will be simply huge, if not then the A’s can set things up for Friday’s wild card game. It’s going to be one heck of a couple days in Oakland, this team will continue to amaze us moving forward.