By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – It’s a feeling that hasn’t been around for a long time. I can’t remember the last time I heard talks of this team making a run for the playoffs. That time has finally come as they continue to stay “hot” in the month of July.
After Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano blasted a solo home run to tie the game. The A’s did the unthinkable and hit their tenth walk-off for the 3-2 victory. They lead the Majors in walk-offs and maintain the best record in baseball for the current month.
“There’s always that feeling,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Based on the fact that we’ve had so many. If we’re last at-bat and we’re tied at home, we feel like something good is going to happen.”
It began as a pitchers duel for the first two innings but that didn’t last long. Coco Crisp leadoff the third frame with a triple and Jemile Weeks followed with a sacrifice fly to bring Crisp in for the 1-0 lead. For two nights in a row the offense has soared.
Oakland’s hits continued through the fourth when both Brandon Moss and Brandon Inge combined for back-to-back doubles to extend their lead by two. New York’s pitcher Ivan Nova was lucky to get got out of the inning with the help of the Yankees defense otherwise the A’s would’ve continued to dominate.
New York looked sloppy, made poor decisions and was no match for Oakland’s pitcher Tommy Milone. He allowed only two hits in four innings while Nova surrendered six hits in the same number of innings.
By the fifth Milone had struck out the side and recorded the most strikeouts by an A’s pitcher against the Yankees. A career-high 10 strikeouts for Tommy in seven shutout innings. The last pitcher to achieve this fete was Bobby Witt on July 2, 1993.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Milone said. “It’s not something I go out there and try to do, I don’t try to strike people out. But when I go out there, I just try to make quality pitches. From pitch number one I was in the zone.”
Ivan’s night ended with nine hits, two runs, one walk, six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. After that Oakland showed no mercy to New York’s bullpen. Five more hits and the amazing walk-off from Moss overshadowed both Cano and Russell Martin’s solo home runs.
Martin’s blast came in the eighth to cut the lead in half and Robinson tied the game in the ninth with his home run and extended his hitting streak to 23 an at-bat earlier. But unfortunately, the Yankees power lineup had nothing for a second night in a row.
“Be aggressive and not hit a ground ball,” Brandon said on his walk-off approach. “You don’t want to get behind and I had a couple of at-bats already, where I was in scoring position and did not get the job done. I wanted to stay aggressive and try to get the ball in the air.”
Tommy finished the night with seven innings, walked none and struck out ten before being pulled and letting the bullpen take over. He lowered his ERZ to 3.34 and for a rookie, that’s a pretty good sign for the A’s future. This month alone has proven Oakland has come a long way from the days of injuries and losses.
“It’s good,” Josh Reddick said on the walk-off wins. “It means we’re not relying on one person in the lineup, we’re relying on 1 thru 9. Not just 1, 2, 3 or 4. I enjoy it, I get to pie somebody different every night. Not just relying on one person to carry this team right now.”