Josh Donaldson found a way to take the spotlight off Manny Machado, drilling a three-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth that sent the A’s to a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The A’s put two runners aboard with no outs against lefty Zach Britton in the ninth, trailing 4-2. Donaldson jumped on the first pitch he saw, and his body language indicated he knew at the crack of the bat that he’d hit the game-winner.
It was quite the way for the A’s to begin the second half of the season, and it came on a night where they looked flat offensively until the final at-bat.
Given that Machado’s every move was met with a jeer from the Coliseum crowd, he seemed destined to play a role in Friday’s outcome somehow.
The Baltimore Orioles third baseman wound up delivering a two-run homer off Jeff Samardzija in the seventh that broke a 2-2 tie.
That only increased the animosity from a crowd that came in already convinced Machado was Public Enemy No. 1. It was Machado’s first game against the A’s since his infamous bat-hurling incident June 8 that earned him a five-game suspension.
Starting pitching report
Samardzija’s night turned on two pitches, though in the end he didn’t get the ‘L’. He was one strike away from stranding a runner on third in the top of the fifth. But with the count full to No. 9 hitter Jonathan Schoop, Samardzija threw a slider that clipped a little too much of the plate, and Schoop deposited it into the left-field seats for a 2-1 Orioles lead.
After a Derek Norris homer tied the game, Machado stepped to the plate with a runner on in the seventh. Greeted by more boos, he turned on a first-pitch fastball and drilled a two-run homer that put Baltimore up 4-2. It was an impressive piece of hitting, as Machado went down and pulled a 94 mile-per-hour fastball that was low and away.
Samardzija went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He’d allowed one run and three runs, respectively, over his first two starts in green and gold.
Ryan Cook and Eric O’Flaherty made sure the Orioles didn’t extend their lead any after Samardzija exited.
At the plate
The A’s took an early lead on John Jaso’s RBI double in the third. Trailing 2-1, they tied it on Derek Norris’ solo shot in the fifth. But the A’s scraped together just four hits in the game as they entered the ninth.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
A crowd of 27,232 was on hand.
Jason Hammel (0-1, 3.60) makes his second Oakland start in Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. game. Wei-Yin Chen (9-3, 4.15) goes for Baltimore.