Game #49: Houston, We Have A Hometown Hero; Young's Homerun Rescues A's

Bob Levey

It looked for all the world that the A's would finally drop a game to the Astros after a disastrous bottom of the fifth inning, but Chris Young, who would go 3-5 in the game, saved the night with a tremendous homerun in the top of the ninth inning that turned a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 win.

Well, now that was fun. Probably not for the Astros, but since we are all A's fans, this was one for the ages. This game was an all-but-sure A's loss, if not for two great at-bats before a stunning, thrilling, beautiful three-run homerun in the top of the ninth inning that yanked a victory out of the jaws of defeat to give the A's their seventh consecutive win against the Astros, moved them three games above .500, and gave them their sixth win in their last seven games.

No one was happier about today's win than the Young family and friends section of the ballpark, which exploded (as did we all) when Chris Young rocketed a homerun deep into the night to flip the game around. It was an amazing at-bat to cap off his success tonight.

The game started out on a positive note, but storm clouds threatened. Despite scoring two in the first, the A's could have had so much more, and like the previous two games, we started to wonder if the missing runs would come back to haunt. Coco Crisp had a terrific at-bat to lead off the first inning and Young singled to put two runs on for Cespedes. He would single back up the middle to plate Crisp, and give the A's a 1-0 lead. Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no one out, but Derek Norris popped up as the first out. Luke Montz's grounder managed to get the job done, and brought home the A's second run. Nate Freiman walked to re-load the bases, but Adam Rosales struck out to end the inning, giving the A's a 2-0 lead, but leaving us wishing for more.

Tommy Milone was excellent for the first four innings, even stranding a lead-off double in the second. The A's put together another threat in the fourth, as Rosales walked, and Sogard singled, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. This left Rosales at third with two outs, instead of one.

And then the wheels came flying off. In the fifth inning, Milone struck out the first two batters, and the proceeded to have the worst 30 second stretch of pitching ever. Matt Dominguez homered to cut the lead to 2-1, and a single, an infield single, and another single tied the game. Then J.D. Martinez hit a three run homerun, and just like that, the A's were down 5-2. Milone had a bad 5-batter stretch, but settled down and ended up throwing seven full innings, keeping the A's in the game long enough to come back.

The A's only scored the two off Bedard, and pinch-hitter Seth Smith greeted his replacement with a homerun, closing the game to 5-3 in the sixth. All was quiet through the bottom of the eighth, as Pat Neshek allowed a two-out double, but nothing else, and the stage was set for the comeback.

Jose Veras tried to close the game for the Astros, but it didn't really go his way. John Jaso, pinch-hitting for Adam Rosales (which would lead to Moss at third base and Donaldson at shortstop for the bottom of the ninth; hey, whatever works!), drew a lead-off walk, and after Sogard struck out swinging, Coco Crisp had another great at-bat to earn a walk of his own. And then, Chris Young, on a 1-1 count, to the delight of A's fans everywhere, but especially his own cheering section in the stadium, hit a game-winning, three-run homerun that was amazing.

Grant Balfour wobbled slightly in the ninth, walking two with one out, but he settled down and got a strikeout and a ground-out to end the game, and lock down the A's victory. This is his 28th consecutive save, the second best streak in A's history.

And the A's? They are 26-23, have won 3 of 4 on the Texas road trip, and with the win, keep pace with Texas (who will likely win tonight) and the Angels, who won earlier. The A's will try to win the series tomorrow afternoon at 4:15PM, Griffin vs. Harrell.

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