Well that went better than expected. The A's went down early, with a 3-0 deficit in the 3rd, but they came back. And when they came back, they didn't almost do so by tying it and then losing later on; they came all the way back and won in the late innings, 4-3 against the Astros in Houston. This is the kind of game the A's haven't won this year, a one-run affair featuring a blown save. This was refreshing.
Perhaps it is not a surprise, then, that it was a couple of relatively new characters doing the heavy lifting. Felix Doubront settled down after giving up his three runs and ended up with a six-inning quality outing, complete with four strikeouts and only one walk (he gave up a homer, but it was to Chris Carter, so that barely counts against him). Danny Valencia, who had already homered in the 4th, hit a two-run blast in the 8th to take the lead. And Ryan Dull, the rookie sensation out of the bullpen, breezed through two scoreless innings to pick up his first MLB save.
Josh Reddick was the first Athletic to get in on the action, knocking a homer to right in the 4th. It was Reddick's 19th of the year, giving the A's a real shot to have a 20-homer guy this season. Valencia came up next, and he made it back-to-back shots off of Houston starter Mike Fiers with his own dinger to left.
Trailing 3-2 in the 7th, Drew Pomeranz relieved Doubront and threw a 1-2-3 7th. Having held serve, the A's made their final push in the 8th -- Canha led off with a single, and Valencia went yard again, this time off of Pat Neshek.
Meanwhile, in the bullpen ...
That's Barry Zito warming up in the pen before Valencia's homer, and while he didn't end up entering the game, the man next to him did. That's rookie Ryan Dull, he of the nine scoreless innings to start his MLB career. Dull retired six of the seven batters he faced to wrap things up, pushing his ERA to ... nope, still 0.00. Here he is striking out Preston Tucker for the final out to notch his first save.
If only the A's had been able to hold a lead like that all season, maybe things would have gone differently. Oh well, there's always next year. At least it worked out on this night.
As a parting gift, here's Sam Fuld making a crazy catch.
Have a wonderful Friday night, with an A's victory safely in hand. Tomorrow is Sonny Gray day!