Another dramatic win for the A’s, this time in GRAND fashion
If you happened to be paying attention this weekend the A’s took two or three from the Tampa Bay Rays. Danny Valencia hit two homers in Friday’s win and three more on Sunday, becoming the first member of the Oakland Athletics to homer five times in a three-game series since Mark McGwire did it in 1995.
Marcus Semien was hitting the ball out of the yard and so was Khris Davis. As I noted in my last post I think that while we all know having a high morale on it’s own won’t win ballgames but it sure does help and the A’s are making that clear already this week.
They defeated the Texas Rangers Monday by the score of 3-1 behind rookie starter Sean Manaea, who pitched into the seventh. They defeated the Rangers again Tuesday in almost the exact same dramatic way that they did when they beat the Rays on Sunday.
On Sunday the A’s were down to their last out with two-strikes on Valencia. It was hard to believe a third home run would be possible since he’d already hit two so as a spectator you’re hoping for a base hit – Billy Burns was on second. Valencia hit a two run bomb and the A’s won in what I thought was the most dramatic fashion I’ve seen in a long time. Still though, being in Florida at Tropicana Field, Ryan Madson had to come in and close out the game.
Tuesday, the A’s were up going into the top of the ninth inning, Madson was on the mound and allowed the go ahead run to score on a hit by Adrian Beltre. The A’s were just one out away from going home with a win. With three outs left, the A’s loaded the bases with two outs and Davis was down to his last strike. Just like Valencia, it was hard to imagine Davis walking-off because he’d already hit two home runs in the game.
Yet in a crazy turn of events, Davis launched a pitch into the left field bleachers for the seventh walk-off Grand Slam in Oakland history. It was pretty incredible and besides, how often do you see a player have a three homer game? How often do you see two players on the same team each have three homer games in three days.
It can’t be very often. This was only the second time in baseball history that time a walk-off grand slam capped a 3-run game. The first to ever accomplish that feat was Joey Votto in May 2012.
After his major-league leading eighth home run in the month of May (as well as being double pied in the face by Josh Reddick, doused in Gatorade with some bubblegum added on top for extra measure, Davis had this to say,
“I feel if my swing is on time, there isn’t a pitcher who can beat me.”
Suddenly the struggling A’s have won four of their last five games and the team’s morale is high.
After the game Stephen Vogt said that going into the bottom of the ninth everyone in the dugout felt as though they had a good chance of winning the game and that comes from positive vibes and a high morale in the clubhouse. He went on to say that when a couple guys get really hot like Davis, Valencia and Semien, that it’s almost contagious and I believed he said “exciting.”
As I noted yesterday morning, having a high moral isn’t going to always win you ballgames but it most certainly can’t hurt.
Once again the A’s won in dramatic fashion and it’s hard to believe it was even more dramatic than the game on Sunday. It was though.
“If you’re a baseball fan, I don’t know that you get a better game to watch. We know [Davis has] got power. Now you have a night where the ball is carrying probably as well as it has all year, because it was warm on both sides. You put a good swing, you get it in the air, there’s a good chance it’s going out.”
“We would have liked to end it a little bit earlier,” Melvin said, the A’s had been one out away from the win in the top of the ninth, “but the way dramatics go and the way it was going, it seemed like something dramatic was going to happen.”
The A’s may be beginning to turn a corner and their morale is off the charts compared to how it was last week. You just never know in this game and there sure is a lot of baseball left to play!