Young: 'It's been some bad luck'
Chris Young has been inches away from walk-off home runs in each of the A's first two losses to the Astros this series. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Bob Melvin was ejected for the fourth time this season and the 29th time in his managerial career. (AP)
OAKLAND -- The way Chris Young sees it, there's some bad karma floating about the A's clubhouse.
"I'm doing something wrong in life," he said with a sad smile. "I need to change."
How else to explain his lot the past two nights? When he's come maybe a combined three inches from a pair of walk-off homers, only to bear witness to the A's instead dropping a pair of games to Houston, this one Wednesday night in 11 innings, 2-1.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Astros 2, A's 1 (11)]
A night after just missing the left-field foul pole and then striking out to end the game one pitch later, Young crushed a Lucas Harrell offering to left with two out in the 10th that hovered in the East Bay night as Robbie Grossman floated back to the wall.
"I just hoped it stayed in play long enough," Grossman said. "I thought the park would hold it a little bit and give me a chance, and that’s all I needed."
The left-handed Grossman timed his leap perfectly, jumping as the ball came down and extending his glove hand over the fence to steal Young's moment of walk-off glory.
"It’s just one of those things that the instincts take over and it just happens," Grossman said.
Young was shocked as he rounded first. So stunned he asked Grossman to show him the ball as he ran by on his way to the Astros dugout.
"Yeah, had to make sure," Young said. "I mean, that would be the best prank of all time. You just have to see it to believe it."
And as luck would have it, the ball again found Young in the top of the 11th.
With one out and Jose Altuve at first, Carlos Corporan doubled off the wall in left-center off Sean Doolittle. Altuve, who is nursing a sore left quad, scampered around the bases and the A's would seemingly have a shot at him at the plate. But Young fumbled the ball, delaying the relay and Altuve crossed home for what proved to be the game-winning run.
And for as much as Young's travails were a main storyline, the negative mojo was oozing from more than one of the A's pores.
Manager Bob Melvin was ejected in the eighth inning. Alberto Callaspo, who has nine career sacrifice bunts, was twice asked to drop a bunt with none out and Eric Sogard at second, and could not deliver either time, popping out to the pitcher in the 11th. And Josh Reddick rolled over on a 3-and-0 pitch and grounded out to first to begin the ninth inning.
So yeah, frustration is mounting for the A's, and not just because they fell two games behind Texas in the American League West with the defeat.
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"On many levels," Melvin said. "It was frustrating from the beginning and got more frustrating as the game (went) along. You have to try to put that away and keeps your wits about you.
"It's one of the more frustrating losses of the year."
Which brings us back to Young, who is playing because usual leadoff-hitting center fielder Coco Crisp is nursing a sore left wrist.
"It's been some bad luck," said Young, who was 0-for-4 and is 2-for-his-last-17 with three walks and seven strikeouts over his last eight games.
"I'm hitting the ball hard. When you hit the ball you need to get hits. You're not going to hit the ball every time, that's just how the game goes. But when you hit it hard you need to get the results and it hasn't been working out like that."
And on his almost-walk off?
"It was a great play," he said. "Hit the ball pretty good. Night time here, it doesn't fly too well, but I did what I wanted to do. There's just been some crazy coincidences going on this season."