Late Inning Heroics Help A’s Sweep Mariners, Magic Number at Two


September 30, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated by his team mates after hitting a home run during the eighth inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The A’s got yet another huge win this afternoon at the O.Co Coliseum, as Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick powered them past the Mariners to complete the sweep.

It was a close game until the later innings, as both pitching staffs held the offenses in check. Oakland got on the board in the first inning when Cespedes tripled in Stephen Drew. Cespedes then scored on a sac fly by Brandon Moss, giving the A’s a temporary 2-0 lead.

Seattle got the runs back in the third, when Tommy Milone allowed three consecutive hits to start the inning. The third hit cut the lead in half, as Kyle Seager singled in Franklin Guttierez. After inducing Jesus Montero a double play, Milone gave up a back-breaking two-out single to Justin Smoak, scoring Seager to tie the game at 2-2.

Milone was pulled after just 4.2 innings. It definitely wasn’t his best start of the season, but he found a way to scatter nine hits and allow just the two runs.

The A’s bullpen would carry on the load from there, shutting the Mariners over the final 4.1 innings.

The offense then did its job to seal an A’s win with some eighth inning fireworks. With one out, Cespedes stepped up and launched a fly ball into left off of Shawn Kelley that seemed like it would never come down. When it finally did, the A’s had a 3-2 lead and the crowd was going insane.

But there was more. Lucas Leutge replaced Kelley, promptly allowed a single and a steal to Brandon Moss, then served up a two-run homer to Josh Reddick that landed in the second deck in right field. For all the years that I have followed the A’s, I have yet to see a ball hit up there until this afternoon.

Reddick’s homer gave the A’s some much needed insurance. Grant Balfour closed things out with an uneventful ninth, and the A’s swept Seattle with a 5-2 victory.

Playoff Update

The A’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot stands at two games. Their next and final series of the regular season will be at home against the Texas Rangers, which will no doubt be an exciting three games.

Standings Watch

The A’s are currently 1.5 games back of the Rangers in the AL West. They own the second wild card spot in the AL, one game behind the Orioles/Yankees and 2.5 games ahead of the Angels.

As we speak…

The Rangers and Angels are in the middle of a doubleheader today. Los Angeles won the first game 5-4, but the Rangers are currently in front in the second game. It is 8-4 Texas in the sixth inning as we speak.