By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – Pick a player, any player! That’s what it’s coming down to when the A’s come to play. You’ll never know who the hero will be and tonight after fifteen long innings, it was Jemile Weeks turn.
In another dramatic ending, Oakland beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 with their 12th walk-off win of the season. With the bases loaded and two outs, bottom of the fifteenth Weeks sacrifice fly drove in the winning run.
“I was confident,” Jemile said. “You’ve got to be confident. I went up there looking for a pitch up, and said if I got it, I was going to put it in the air. Thankfully he gave me that pitch and I did that.”
After loading the bases in both the ninth and tenth innings, the A’s failed to score a run. Instead a hitter struck out to end the threat both times. But the opportunity came again, a leadoff single by Brandon Inge sparked the offense for the victory.
Despite Jemile going 0-for 7 as well as Josh Reddick (which is rare), the bullpen did their work in shutting down the Rays. Four relievers combined allowed only three hits over eight innings after A.J. Griffin was relieved of his duties.
“It’s probably easy for any one of our guys to let up when the game’s going that late into the night,” said Inge. “Everyone’s tired. Those guys battled the whole time as if it was the last game they ever played.”
Rookie Griffin has another spectacular night. Going a career-high seven innings, he surrendered five hits, three runs (all earned), walked two, gave up one home run and struck out six. Pitching seven quality starts since his call up from the River Cats has been simply amazing.
“I can’t say it was a really exciting baseball game. It was well pitched on both sides,” manager John Maddon said. “We were prepared to go 20 innings.”
Tampa Bay got back in the game after being down 0-2 in the fourth. Carlos Pena’s two-run double tied the game 2-2 when Griffin gave up three hits in the inning. Fortunately, Jose Molina grounded out to short stop Brandon Hicks to end the inning before anymore damage was done.
They extended their lead when Matt Joyce blasted a solo home run in the sixth. That was the only hit and run scored in the frame. Oakland’s defense was at it’s best in the next inning when both Pena and Jose Molina hit back-to-back singles.
Molina singled on a line drive to right field, Reddick threw to third to tag Carlos out. And while Sean Rodriguez was at-bat Jose was caught stealing for the second out. A.J. struck out Rodriguez to escape the inning.
The A’s tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Brandon hit a home run to right field. No other runs were scored until the game went into extra innings. Yoenis Cespedes who singled twice in the infield to get on base has been a huge part of this offense.