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Game #125: A’s avoid sweep, beat Marlins 3-2 in finale

Cole Irvin was fantastic this afternoon

MLB: Miami Marlins at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland won the series finale against the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon, beating Miami 3-2 in extras on the strength of the starting pitching.

It was a great matchup between a couple left-handed starters as both matched each other inning for inning for most of the game. Oakland broke through first for a couple runs but Miami charged back to tie it late and send it to extras. The A’s won it in the bottom of the 10th to make sure there would be no home sweep.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

Anyone who tuned into this game was treated to a fantastic pitching duel through the first six innings.

For the A’s, Cole Irvin continued his dominance at the Coliseum this year, tossing 7 scoreless innings. The left-hander allowed just a trio of singles (one of which was an infield bunt) and nothing else while setting a new career-high in strikeouts with 11 K’s.

As good as Irvin was today, his opponent was just as good for most of the game. Former A’s top prospect Jesus Luzardo, who you might remember departed Oakland in the Starling Marte trade last summer, dominated the Oakland lineup today, taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth inning with just one walk to Tony Kemp in the third.

The first Oakland hit came off the bat of Jonah Bride, who took the first pitch of the sixth inning and drove it into left field to break up the no-no bud. The A’s league-longest streak of not getting no-hit lives on for another day!

A sacrifice bunt moved Bride to second and Nick Allen flared a ball into right for the A’s second hit of the day. Bride had to hold up to make sure the ball wouldn’t be caught and as a result couldn’t come around to score on the single. Shea Langeliers came up with runners on the corners and grounded the ball to the third baseman, who fired the ball home nailing Bride trying to score. Was this going to be a wasted opportunity?

Today’s DH Sean Murphy walked on a close 3-2 check swing to load the bases for Chad Pinder, and he had arguably the biggest hit of the day:

From getting no-hit entering the inning to having a 2-run lead at the end of it was quite the turnaround for the club and gave Irvin a chance at a win.

Given a lead and at only 81 pitches, Mark Kotsay let it ride and sent Irvin out for the seventh (but just in case, had Zach Jackson warming in the ‘‘pen). He allowed his third single but also got his 10th and 11th strikeout to end the inning and his day.

-Cole Irvin: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K, 92 pitches

Irvin has become the unquestioned leader of this pitching staff since the Montas trade and had his best start of the year today. Everything was working for the lefty, who had 25 swings and misses against the Marlins. He honestly probably could have went out for another inning of work but there’s no reason to tax his arm this year, and he departed in line for his seventh win.

If only he could bring these type of performances with him on the road, where he has a 4.88 ERA.

Jackson replaces Irvin to start the eighth and his first pitch was a plunk job that put a Marlin baserunner on. He got a couple outs but then surrendered a walk (that probably should have been a strikeout) and an RBI single, bringing in a run and halving the Oakland lead, prompting Kotsay to turn to Dany Jimenez for the 4-out save situation. It took him 3 pitches to get a groundout to escape the inning with minimal damage done.

After getting the first out of the ninth and seemingly on their way to a win, Jimenez surrendered a game-tying home run to Miami catcher Nick Fortes, wiping away Irvin’s chance for a win and ensuring there would be a bottom of the ninth. Oakland didn’t do anything with a leadoff single in the bottom half, sending this game to extras.

Lefty A.J. Puk had the 10th and had a scoreless appearance with a couple K’s, stranding a couple Marlins on the base paths.

With an Oakland runner starting the bottom half of the inning on second, the A’s didn’t need a huge hit to win. In fact, they didn’t need a hit at all as a passed ball and sac fly from Skye Bolt brought in Oakland’s third run and gave Oakland the walk-off win in the series finale.

No sweep for you! The A’s bats scared us into thinking they might get no-hit but managed to squeeze out a pair of runs that made all the difference. Good thing, too, or else they would have wasted one of the best starting pitching performances they’ve received all year. The bullpen let it get away late but again the Oakland bats were able to scratch out a run for a walk-off win.

The A’s will say goodbye to the Marlins (only until next year thanks to the MLB schedule changes) and welcome the New York Yankees to town for a 4-game series. It’ll be righty James Kaprielian kicking the series off for the A’s tomorrow night at the Coliseum.