Melvin on Donaldson: 'He's off to a good start'
OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics winning streak has reached nine games and in an unbelievably improbable fashion. In the 12th inning, and their bench completely depleted, Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off home run to win the game 4-3.
The A's barely had the personnel to finish the game. Coco Crisp left with a strained left groin after the ninth inning. Cespedes, who looked like he hurt himself when sliding awkwardly into second base in the eighth inning, left the game after the top of the 11th.
As a result, Chris Young moved to center field and the A's lost their DH spot.
At the Plate
Crisp led off for the A's with a perfectly placed bunt single in the first inning. He ended up stealing both second and third base, but he was stranded at third. He drove in the game-tying run in the seventh inning, but left the game before extra innings began.
Eric Sogard reached on a double down the right field line. He manufactured a run when he got a large jump toward third base and pitcher Max Scherzer airmailed the throw over Miguel Cabrera's head. As Cabrera chased the ball, Sogard rounded third and scored the A's first run.
Jed Lowrie ripped a double down the left field line to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Josh Reddick, who was awarded his Rawling's Gold Glove before the game, reminded everyone he has a bat too. He drove in Lowrie with a single that squeezed between the first and second basemen, making it a 3-2 game.
The same thing happened in the seventh inning. Josh Donaldson reached on a double and Crisp drove him home with a broken-bat single to tie the game at three. Crisp is one of the A's most reliable hitters with a runner in scoring position. Last season he hit .367 in that situation.
Starting Pitching Report
Bartolo Colon had a successful outing on Friday against the Tigers and their potent lineup. He lasted seven innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. The veteran starting pitcher struck out five batters and didn't allow a walk.
Colon has yet to walk a batter in his two starts this season.
The Tigers reached on back-to-back one-out singles in the third inning. That set up a couple of heavyweight showdowns. Colon got Miguel Cabrera to fly out, but lost the next round to Prince Fielder, who hit a three-run home run. That was really Colon's only mistake of the night.
Fielder got to Colon again in the sixth inning when he led off with a double to the left field wall, but he managed to pitch his way out of the jam. Victor Martinez and Alex Avila popped up and then Colon struck out Jhonny Peralta with with Fielder on third to end the sixth inning.
The veteran starting pitcher retired seven of the last eight batters he faced.
After A.J. Griffin's eight inning performance on Thursday, a refreshed bullpen got to work on Friday. Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Grant Balfour pitched the ninth with a 3-3 tie. Ryan Cook pitched a scoreless 10th inning. Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless 11th inning and stayed in the game to start the 12th inning.
Blevins got the first two batters out, but gave up a triple to Ramon Santiago and was relieved by Chris Resop. Austin Jackson flew out to center field to end the inning.
In the Field
It wouldn't be Reddick gold glove night without some spectacular defense. Reddick made a leaping catch against the wall in right field to rob Martinez of a double. The crowd cheered and waived their giveaway foam gold gloves enthusiastically.
The A's also turned a pivotal 4-6-3 double play with Cabrera batting with two runners on in the fifth inning.
The A's announced an attendance of 21,377.
Gold won the dot race. Green and White collided near the finish line allowing Gold to coast in for the win.
Saturday's game has the makings of a pitcher's duel. Brett Anderson will be on the mound for the A's. Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers. Verander beat the A's in Game One and Game Five of the American League Division Series. It will be interesting to see if the A's can get a little pay back.