Cespedes explains mindset during 9th inning at-bat
Yoenis Cespedes went 2 for 5 with three RBI and a home run in his return to the A's lineup. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- The Oakland Athletics had to wait 15 long days to get their slugging left fielder back from the disabled list. The wait felt much longer, as the A's went 4-10 while Yoenis Cespedes nursed a left hand strain.
They say good things come to those who wait. That was the case for the A's on Sunday. Cespedes cranked a two-run game-tying home run in the ninth inning with the team on the verge of a four-game home sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
The home run kept the A's alive, and gave them a chance to walk-off and have a pie party, which they eventually did in the 10th inning, after Coco Crisp laid down a sacrifice bunt that the Orioles misplayed, allowing Eric Sogard to score.
The Orioles had won 103 games in a row when leading after the seventh inning. Their streak was ended by the A's, who led Major League Baseball with 15 walk-off wins last season.
At the Plate
Cespedes went 2 for 5 with three RBI and a home run in his return to the A's lineup.
The A's trailed big, but responded in the sixth inning by scoring four runs and knocking Orioles' starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez out of the game. The rally was started and ended by Adam Rosales, who led off with a double, scored and later grounded out to end the inning.
Coco Crisp drove in Rosales with a double and scored on a groundout by Seth Smith. The big blow came off the bat of Josh Donaldson, the A's hottest hitter, when he pulled a two-run double into left field with the bases loaded in a nine-pitch at-bat.
Donaldson is 12 for 22 with four runs, seven doubles, and 10 RBI over his last seven games. He has been a one-man wrecking crew, but the team has been struggling around him.
The A's tied the game at six in the seventh inning on a Seth Smith two-run home run. Later, Brandon Moss and Donaldson worked back-to-back walks, but Chris Young popped out on the first pitch to end the budding rally.
The A's were down two runs in the ninth inning, when Cespedes hit a two-run game-tying home run. They walked off with the win in the 10th inning after the Orioles' defense buckled.
Starting Pitching Report
The big inning burned the A's again on Sunday. Bartolo Colon was pitching well until he allowed four runs on four consecutive singles and a double before recording an out in the fourth inning.
After the two-run double hit by Chris Davis made it 3-0, Colon recorded three straight outs and limited the damage to a sacrifice fly that made it 4-0.
The ball wasn't bouncing the A's way on Sunday. In the fifth inning Colon made an attempt on a ball that deflected off his glove allowing Manny Machado to reach base. Adam Jones followed with a double that took a tough hop as it approached Donaldson, and he couldn't come up with the ball. One run scored on the play, but Machado was thrown out at home.
Colon still had a shockingly low pitch count with 75 pitches through six innings and five runs allowed. He was removed from the game prior to the seventh inning. Colon allowed nine hits and no walks.
Ryan Cook started the seventh inning and allowed a run on a two-out rally. The A's cant seem to buy a shutdown lately and the A's scored four runs in the frame prior to Cook's earned run.
It happened again in the eighth inning when Chris Davis gave the Orioles a 7-6 lead with his ninth homer of the season, this one was against Sean Doolittle. The A's tied the game at six in the prior inning.
The A's didn't score in the eighth inning, but Grant Balfour allowed a run in the ninth inning anyways. Cook, Doolittle and Balfour are arguably the best trio of relievers in the game, but even they have bad days at times.
Jerry Blevins pitched a scoreless 10th inning after Cespedes tied the game at eight. The illusive shutdown inning had finally been obtained.
In the Field
The A's stopped a runner from scoring in the fifth inning on a 7-4-2 putout. After a double by Jones got by Donaldson, Cespedes fielded the ball and threw to second, but Sogard threw it home to get Machado to end the inning.
In the ninth inning Cespedes made a full-effort headfirst diving attempt for a ball hit into the gap. It was a moment that probably had the A's coaches holding their breath, as Cespedes had just returned from the disabled list.
The A's announced an attendance of 27,475.
Green won the dot race. There were no shenanigans at the finish line. It was a close race.
Dan Straily will be taking Brett Anderson's turn in the rotation on Monday. Anderson is still feeling some pain after spraining his right ankle against the Rays in Tampa Bay. Straily will be facing the Angels for the third time. He is 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in his career against them.
The Angels will be sending Tommy Hanson to the mound. He is 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts this season. He will be returning from the bereavement list.