Athletics, Angels Are Up All Night
Oakland, Calif. — Brandon Moss’ two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 19th inning early Tuesday morning brought the longest game in Athletics history — six hours, 32 minutes — to an end with a 10-8 walk-off victory over the Angels.
Through the evening, the Athletics lost players but didn’t lose heart.
In the end (which came at 4:41 EDT in the morning), they didn’t lose the game either, even after being up against the wall a couple of times.
The evening was so odd that instead of getting a pie in the face from Josh Reddick, Moss was simply handed a pie and told to pie himself. He did.
“We’ve got to have a pie after a game like that,” Moss said. “Reddick was too tired, so I pied myself.”
The Angels had leads of 6-1 and 7-2 early and led with two out in the ninth inning before Yoenis Cespedes tied the game with a single. And the Angels went up 8-7 in the 15th inning only to see an Adam Rosales single keep the evening, er, morning, going, scoring Derek Norris from second base.
By the time this one was in the books, the A’s had lost two center fielders, Coco Crisp and Chris Young, to injuries. Crisp suffered a strained left hamstring running out a grounder in the 13th inning. In the 15th, Young went down with a strained left quad while running out a double-play grounder. The Angels lost their center fielder, Peter Bourjos, to a left hamstring strain, too.
On the other hand, A’s left-handed starter Brett Anderson, who was scratched from the start because of a sprained right ankle, was good enough to enter the game in the 13th inning, ultimately pitching 5.1 innings in what he called “my best game of the year.”
He left when the pain returned to his foot while trying to field a grounder up the middle at the end of his first career relief appearance. “I don’t think I did any more damage to it,” Anderson said. “I pitched the first couple of innings on adrenaline and the last couple on sheer will.”
The A’s were trying to keep from using reliever Jerry Blevins, who’d pitched three times in the previous five days. Blevins wound up pitching the final 12∕3 innings to get the win.
“I told them that after everything Brett had done and the guys had done to get us there,” Blevins said, ‘”that if we were going down, we were going down with a pitcher on the mound.”
Blevins had perhaps one more inning in him. Then, manager Bob Melvin said, it’s likely outfielder Seth Smith would have taken the mound.
The Athletics won’t know until at least later the status of Crisp, Young or Anderson. It’s likely they’ll be calling in backup in the persons of outfielder Michael Taylor and pitcher Evan Scribner and maybe others. The club would have been able to bring back outfielder Casper Wells, but they traded the outfielder to the Chicago White Sox earlier in the evening, a day after designating him for assignment.
Moss had already hit one homer, a solo shot in the sixth inning, when he stepped up against Barry Enright in the 19th. He didn’t like his chances.
“I was so late on everything the second half of the game,” Moss said. “But both teams were battling so hard, Jerome (Williams) pitched so well for them, Brett pitching at all. I was at first base and Albert (Pujols) asked me why Brett was warming up and I told him I thought he was pitching between starts. I didn’t think he’d be coming in the game.”
Williams pitched six innings, allowing one unearned run for the Angels. Pujols had two singles and two homers for them. But over the last 12 innings the Angels got just one run, that when Anderson walked J.B. Shuck with the bases loaded in the 15th.
Anderson was kicking himself, but moments later all was well when Norris got to second base and Rosales brought him around with a single up the middle.
The win was the second consecutive extra-inning walkoff win for the Athletics, who came from behind to beat the Orioles on Sunday.
“The last two days players have been talking to me at first base and saying ‘you guys don’t quit,’ “ Moss said. “And we don’t. We might lose 1-0. Or we might be down 8-1. But we don’t quit. A lot of players around the league respect that in us.”
That number is probably increasing as word of this game gets out.
The big news emerging from the Oakland clubhouse in the wake of Jason Collins coming out as gay, the first player in any of the four major professional team sports in North America to do so, was that there was no big news. Melvin said he didn’t see that a gay athlete would have problems were he to join the A’s. “If he’s a good baseball player, we welcome him,” Melvin said. “We embrace (diversity) in this organization. And look at the demographics in California. We’d have no issue with (having a gay player on the roster) at all.”
Josh Donaldson was watching ESPN on Monday morning, which is how he learned he’d been named American League Player of the Week. “Man, that came as a surprise,” Donaldson said. “It was like, ‘Wha-a-a-t?’ It was quite a surprise.”
Donaldson had a .545 batting average for the week, going 12-for-22 with seven doubles, 10 RBIs and seven walks in winning the award for the first time.
The A’s traded Wells to the Chicago White Sox on Monday, one day after they designated the outfielder for assignment in order to get Cespedes on the roster from the disabled list. It’s the fourth big league team in a month - the Mariners, the Blue Jays, the A’s and now the White Sox - for Wells.
Pitcher Jesse Chavez was officially returned to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday as the A’s activated Dan Straily to start with Anderson (right foot) a little hobbled. It may be a one-start stay for Straily. It’s not clear if the club will keep him around just in case Anderson isn’t ready to make his next start - he’d be needed no later than Tuesday, May 7 in Cleveland - but there is at least a chance that Straily will be moved off the roster as early as Tuesday, which is what it was like after the last time he started against the Astros in Houston on April 5.
Shortstop Hiro Nakajima (hamstring) had the day off Monday and will get a six-inning game Monday at the A’s extended spring training camp in Phoenix. If he comes through that, Nakajima would then move to Sacramento to start an injury rehabilitation assignment, Melvin said.
Research by the A’s determined that Crisp’s walkoff bunt Sunday in the 10th inning was the fourth of its kind in A’s history, the first since Marco Scutaro did it in 2005. The bunts that inning by Adam Rosales and Crisp were the first back-to-back sacrifices by A’s hitters since 1998.