Yeah, I'm crying. After screaming my lungs out at two home runs in the ninth and tenth innings, I burst into tears in front of the TV as the A's ran around the field like they had just won their biggest game of the year, which of course, they had. Down three runs in the eighth, and two runs in the ninth inning with one out, facing an all-but-certain loss in which yet another starter didn't make it out of the fifth inning, the A's rallied with a Reddick walk and a gigantic Donaldson home run to tie the game and send it to extra innings, where a monster blast by Brandon Moss ended the game. Considering the "when", it was the biggest win of the year for the 2012 A's, reducing their magic number to 3, and pulling them within 2.5 games of the Rangers (who are still rain delayed in Arlington) with 4 to play.
It was magical.
Dan Straily struggled early in this one; he gave up 4 runs (3 earned) in his 4.1 innings, striking out 3, and giving up the two home runs that would have been the difference in the game. But his replacements: Figueroa, Neshek, Scribner, Cook and Balfour were all but perfect, and combined with some amazing late A's defense, they held Seattle off long enough for the A's to come back.
The A's went down in the second inning as throwing errors by both Moss and Cespedes would allow the first Seattle run to score. Straily needed no help with the next three runs, as two home runs by Seattle put the A's down 4-0 by the fourth. The A's would strike for one run in their half of the fourth, as Cespedes singled, Moss singled him to third, and Cespedes basically stole home in what an amazing heads-up play to get something started.
The two teams traded zeros for the next three innings. The A's defense held steady as Rosales made a great diving play to snag a liner to end the seventh inning, and the A's got out of a jam in the eighth with a ground ball. A single by Coco Crisp and a walk to Drew put runners at first and second, and after Coco stole third (inexplicably, Drew did not steal second on the play), Moss doubled down the line. Coco scored, but Drew was thrown out at the plate by an eyelash. This was a disappointing blow to the A's, who cut the lead to 4-2, but could have had it at 4-3 with a runner on second.
Moss saved yet another Seattle run with a diving catch to end the top of the ninth, sending the game to the bottom of the inning with the A's only down two. You know how this season is truly magic? Reddick walked with one out to make Donaldson the tying run. Donaldson wasted no time in crushing an 0-1 curve ball from Mariners' closer Tom Wilhelmsen to dead center field to tie the game and send the A's crowd into a frenzy. There was no doubt that the A's were going to win this one, no matter how many innings they played.
It only took one. After Balfour pitched a perfect tenth (never mind the heart-attack inducing third out right to the base of the wall), Coco singled to lead off the inning, Cespedes drew a one out walk, and Brandon Moss said, "Let there be PIE" and crushed the game-winning home run.
The importance of this game cannot be overstated, and let's hope it gives the A's momentum both for the sweep tomorrow, but also for Monday's last series. There's four games left in the regular season, and we're still talking playoffs. Happy tears, people.
Most fun of all was the game playing in Arlington on the jumbotron during the rain delay. When the A's won, the entire crowd booed. Music to all of our ears.
We do it again tomorrow, same time, same place. Milone vs. Ramirez.