This game had all the makings of a terrible, boring, awful loss. Somehow the A's delightfully flipped the script. Thank you based Wash.
A's starter Felix Doubront did not look sharp at all to start the game. In the second inning Robinson Cano seared a liner directly into the right foot of Doubront, sending him limping. He gutted out the rest of the inning (luckily Cano's steal of second base was overturned on replay, which showed him over sliding for the third out) but the A's wisely pulled the limping starter and girded their loins in anticipation of seven bullpen innings.
Evan Scribner started the third inning, and a budding A's nemesis, exciting young SS Ketel "One" Marte knocked a double then stole third. Scribner hit Nelson Cruz with a pitch and the wheels fell off. The red hot Cano singled in Marte. Then Franklin Gutierrez hit a no-doubter to bring in Cano and Cruz, staking the M's to a 4-0 lead. For good measure, Scribner allowed an absolute bomb to Mark Trumbo to make it five. And this was just the third inning.
At that point we were looking at five more innings by the A's pen.
I asked for guesses on the score. Servus was the only one who predicted an A's win, calling a 9-8 victory "because baseball." Even he was not optimistic enough on this night. No one saw this coming.
Mariners starter Hishashi Iwakuma breezed through four innings, and was looking strong. He retired the A's on nine pitches total in the fourth. However, unlike the typical post-deadline A's, the offense came alive. Stephen Vogt led off the fifth with a double. Billy Butler walked, and then Eric Sogard hit a two out single to give the A's the bases loaded with two outs. Again - typical 2015 A's - 3 base runners, no runs, rally squandered. Tonight's A's were a different story.
Billy Burns doubled and knocked in Vogt and Butler. Sogard might have scored, but retro third base coach Ron Washington was showing Burns the stop sign at second while waving in Sogard. Sogard misread it and stayed at third. Thus, Wash's first close play at third base was muffed, but it didn't matter. Because Mark Canha doubled down the line to drive in Sogard and Burns. 5-4 M's, still two outs. Josh Reddick then hit a dribbler down the first base line that was in sort of no man's land. Mariners 1B Jesus Montero tried to get to the ball in time, but was slow, and then pouty and disappointed when Reddick's hustle beat him to the bag to extend the inning. He should have thrown to the pitcher, Reddick would have been out easily and the rally would have been snuffed. But he's not really Mr. "Baseball IQ"
While Montero was being all sad and stuff, Canha was blazing around the bases and scored all the way from second on an infield single. And Reddick was credited with a really weird and hilarious RBI. That's how the A's tied it up. These are the kinds of things the A's have let the other teams do all year.
The inning still alive, Danny Valencia came to the plate and for good measure sent it over the fence. 7-5 A's, thanks to a second consecutive night with a seven-run inning. Stephen Vogt then doubled (yes, his second two-bagger of the inning!) but the A's didn't score again. Still, what a glorious comeback, and Mr. Servus was looking like quite the genius. He believed in The Wash, and the rest of us should never have doubted. Iwakuma was pulled and the Mariners' bullpen decided to bring the gas(can) today. I love when the shoe is on the other foot.
Meanwhile, Scribner pitched a scoreless fourth, Mujica pitched a couple more scoreless innings, and the A's had made it to the seventh with the 7-5 lead.
The A's tacked on another run in the 7th with Mark Canha smacking a single and getting a hustle double. It was called a throwing error on Mark Trumbo but it was a tough error. Canha forced the issue with his speed. How did we have a guy who plays multiple positions, has great speed and base running instinct, and plus power, and let him languish on the bench? I'm sure every A's fan is glad he is getting a chance to shine. And he's never giving that playing time back, at this rate. In addition to his speed and smarts, he's now OPSing .750 on the season in 320 plate appearances. Not bad for a rookie. Reddick drove in Canha again, this time conventionally, and the A's went up 9-5.
Pat Venditte went six up and six down (pitching R, R, L, R, L, R), and the A's added on even more in the 9th on a Josh Reddick two-run blast that kept carrying, off a lefty no less, plating Burns and giving the A's an 11-5 lead. Drew Pomeranz slammed the door in the 9th to close out a welcome back victory for Ron Washington.
Well done, A's.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how well AN ran this game. Down 5-0, we just moved on and talked about food and beer and all sorts of other stuff. It was a great thread, and while we all just kind of ignored the game the A's scored 7 runs. Nice work guys and gals. See ya tomorrow for the chance at a three-game win streak!