Oakland broke their 8 game losing tonight, topping the Detroit Tigers by a final of 8-2 in what is possibly one of the last victories for the Athletics at the Coliseum.
The A’s got on the scoring started early today. A leadoff Ryan Noda single brought up Zack Gelof, who jumped on the third pitch of the at-bay and drove a double down the left-field line:
Zack Gelof opens up the scoring pic.twitter.com/nVeNkWJVmh— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 23, 2023
That was Gelof’s 28th RBI and 20th (!) double of the season, and that line drive RBI gave Oakland a quick lead. That would be it for a while after that as A’s bats cooled down hard over the middle frames, collecting just a pair of walks.
On the bump tonight was left-hander Ken Waldichuk and he had his A-game working early tonight. He only gave up two doubles through the first four innings tonight, at one point even retiring 11 of 12 Tigers batters he faced. The third double finally dinged him as Detroit swatted a towering 2-run home run to left in the fifth to take the lead.
Waldichuk pitched one more inning, a quick 1-2-3 sixth to finish off his day. The lefty finished with 7 K’s on 101 pitches, a very good start from Waldy. He needs to finish this season strong and that’s just what he’s doing. Another start or two before his season is over to continue impressing the coaches.
Waldichuk was in line for the loss though. The offense was near-silent after that Gelof RBI double way back in the first. They needed a big hit, a rally, anything to get Waldichuk off the hook. It finally came in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of 2023 Athletics All-Star Brent Rooker:
Rooker's 29th homer of the season ties the game pic.twitter.com/Zkn2asi4p9— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 23, 2023
Considering he was on the roster bubble in camp, the fact that Rooker is one bomb away from 30 is remarkable. Get ready to see him in the middle of the lineup plenty again next year.
And the club wasn’t done there! The club kept it up and put the next two batters on. With one out, Mark Kotsay decided to use his bench and pinch-hit Shea Langeliers for Tyler Soderstrom. Let’s just say, the move paid off:
Langeliers just snuck that ball inside the left-field foul pole for his 21st home run of the season. Langeliers is another player ending the year on a high note and should get plenty of run next year too. It will be interesting to see how him and Soderstrom split time next year.
Oakland was just saving all of their offense for the latter half of the game. The A’s loaded the bases and Esteury Ruiz came through with a couple extra insurance runs for the Green & Gold:
Fellow rookie outfielder Lawrence Butler followed up Ruiz with a sac fly for the A’s 8th and final run of the day. That would be more than enough to snag the W tonight.
With Waldichuk now in line for the win, Kotsay turned to the bullpen to finish this game off for the A’s. Righty Lucas Erceg was first out the ‘pen and fired off a scoreless seventh, Dany Jimenez had a clean eighth, and Zach Neal came on in the ninth to finish off the Tigers. He retired Detroit in order to secure the win for the A’s and snap the losing streak. Back in the win column, baby.
Finally! That losing streak is over. The pitching did it’s job and then some while the offense had one of their best days in weeks. Would it be too much to ask for the same thing again tomorrow.
The A’s will try to make it two in a row tomorrow afternoon in a Saturday night game at the Coliseum. Rookie pitcher Joe Boyle is set to make his second career start tomorrow in the third game of this 4-game series. Still waiting on who the Tigers will throw back at him. Stay tuned!