A's Starling Marte Hits Towering Walk-Off to pull within 3 of the Astros
On a warm Friday evening in Oakland at the Coliseum, the Oakland A's were getting ready to face the Texas Rangers in game 1 of an AL West divisional matchup. The A's were down 4 games to the Houston Astros, lead by veteran manager Dusty Baker. The Astros lost their games Thursday and Friday to the Minnesota Twins which gave the A's a chance to gain some games on the Stros. The A's were 61-48, coming off a split interleague series with the San Diego Padres while the Rangers had just finished 3 game home series with the Los Angeles Angels where they were swept, which brought their record down to 39-70. They entered the game on a 11 game road losing streak and in last place, while the A's entered second in the Wild Card race and second in the AL West.
Both pitchers were verterans and all stars. A's ace Chris Bassitt faced off against hard throwing Texas starter Mike Foltynewicz. Bassitt came into the game 11-3 with 3.28 ERA while Foltynewicz was 2-10 with a 6.00 ERA. Through the top of the 4th, it looked like this would be a pitcher's game. Chris Bassitt had already thrown 6 strikeouts, and Folty (Foltynewicz) hadn't allowed a hit but it didn't last long. The A's loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with no outs after Matt Olson hit a ground rule double and Jed Lowrie and Sean Murphy walked bringing up Mitch Moreland. Moreland grounded into a double play, though, but Olson scored, giving the A's a 1-0 lead. The Rangers struck back in the top of the 5th when Curtis Terry lined a double to center, and a batter later, Star Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa came up. He hit a curveball into Left Field for a single and Terry scored to make it 1-1. Also on the play, Isiah got into 2nd on the throw home, but on the next play, Kiner-Falefa was caught stealing 3rd, ending the inning. In the 7th, Brett Martin came into pitch for the Rangers, and blanked the A's with 2 strikeouts. The A's put Yan Gomes in at Designated Hitter in the 7th, replacing Mitch Moreland, and he grounded out. In the top of the 8th, the A's sent veteran reliever and former San Francisco Giant Sergio Romo in to hold the Rangers, which he did with a strikeout. In the bottom of the 8th, Joe Barlow came in for the Rangers and held the A's with a walk and 2 strikeouts. The A's sent Lou Trivino in in the 9th, to hold the tie, and he did with 1 strikeout and a hit. Charlie Culberson was brought in as pinch runner in the ninth for the Rangers' 1st Baseman Nathaniel Lowe after a hit, and he stole a base. He was put in at 1st after. The Rangers put Dennis Santana in in the 9th, and he held the tie. The A's brought Andrew Chafin in in the 10th to hold off an early extra innings run and he dominated, but after he pitched, they checked him and he wasn't happy. His checks came up clean, though. Spencer Patton then came in, and held the A's in the 10th. Another former San Francisco Giant Yusmeiro Petit came in and dominated the Rangers in the 11th for the A's. In the bottom of the 11th, the Rangers brought in Jimmy Herget to try to stop the A's, Tony Kemp started at 2nd for the A's, and Mark Canha led off. He was hit by a pitch which brought up Starling Marte. Marte is a huge Centerfield pickup that the A's traded Pitcher Jesus Luzardo for at the deadline in a trade with the Marlins. With the crowd on their feet, on the 5th pitch of the at bat, Starling hit a towering homer over the Southwest wall and on the balcony of the Treehouse. This was the 10th walkoff for the A's this season, and it gave back-to-back walkoffs since they had had a walkoff in their game against the Padres on Wednesday. This was Marte's 9th homer of the season and his 8th walkoff of his career.
W - Yusmeiro Petit (8 - 1): IP: 1.0, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K
L - Jimmy Herget (0 - 1): IP: 0.0, 2 ER, 3 R, 1 H, 1 HBP, 0 K
Man of the Match: Offense (Both Teams): A's: Starling Marte: 2 for 5, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 H; TEX: Isiah Kiner-Falefa: 3 for 5, 1 RBI, 3 H
Defense: A's: Chris Bassitt: 7.0 IP, 8 K, 5 H, 1 ER; TEX: Folty: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP
Here Are the Final Totals:
R H E LOB
Rangers: 1 6 0 3
Athletics: 4 4 0 5
The A's are now 63-48 (Sunday) and are 3 games behind the Astros for first while the Rangers are now 39 - 72, 27 games back from the Stros. The A's are 1.5 games in front of the Yankees for the 2nd spot in the Wild Card. The Rangers are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for last in the Wild Card race, at 24 games back. The A's are a great team, and don't have many problems, which should allow them to cruise to the postseason. Key series for the A's coming up in the month of August are: August 13 - 15: @ Texas, August 20 - 22: v. San Francisco, August 23 - 24: v. Seattle, August 26 - 29: v. New York Yankees. For the rest of the season: Sep. 10 - 12: v. Texas, Sep. 17 - 19: @ LA Angels, Sep. 20 - 23: v. Seattle, Sep. 24 - 26: v. Houston, Sep. 27 - 29: @ Seattle, and Oct. 1 - 3: @ Houston. I think the A's should be able to go 20 - 10 in these series, losing only one and splitting one. For Texas to make the playoffs, they would need to win out.