Oakland Athletics Season Comes to a Heartbreaking End


The river card fell on the all-in gamble, and the Oakland Athletics weren’t able to cash in.

The A’s season came to a heartbreaking end, following a 9-8 extra-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday.

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez smacked a ground ball that slipped right by Josh Donaldson‘s glove, bringing home Christian Colon to give the Royals their first playoff victory in 25 years.

“I’m not feeling very good. It was a great game. Both teams played hard,” Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin told reporters after the game. “You want to that game.”

Jason Frasor picked up the win for the Royals, while Dan Otero suffered the loss.

The A’s had an incredible opportunity to win the game after Alberto Callaspo singled in Josh Reddick to take an 8-7 lead in the top half of the 12th inning.

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Brandon Moss had an incredible outing, going 2-for-5 with five RBI with two home runs, becoming the first player to do so in Athletics history.

Geovany Soto started behind the plate hoping to curb the Royals’ running attack. He suffered a thumb injury and was forced out of the game though. With Derek Norris behind the plate, the Royals took advantage and stole seven bases that resulted in seven runs.

Things looked great for the A’s early. Coco Crisp led off the game with a single to left field. James Shields retired Sam Fuld and Josh Donaldson before Moss crushed a 0-1 change up into the right field stands to give the A’s an early 2-0 lead.

The Royals got one of the runs back in the home half of the first off of a Billy Butler single. The Royals attempted to run a delayed double steal that failed, allowing Jon Lester to get out of the inning with only one run behind him.

After a scoreless second and away half of the third, the Royals got going. Mike Moustakas beat the shift with a hard single to left field. After advancing to third with two outs. He was followed by Lorenzo Cain , who doubled down the left field line tying the game at two. The next batter, Eric Hosmer, brought home Cain with a bloop single to left, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.

The A’s offense got going in the critical sixth inning, as failing to do so would have opened the door for the best bullpen in baseball.

Fuld and Donaldson eached safely with no outs, and Shields was pulled. Royals manager Ned Yost opted to put in starting pitcher Yordano Ventura on two-days rest to relieve Shields.

That’s when Moss made the Royals pay by delivering a massive three-run home run to dead center that gave the A’s a 5-2 lead.

The A’s added two more after the four-bagger, and it looked like the A’s were going to cruise into the AL Division Series, especially with Lester’s history.

“You feel like with our pitching, it’s going to hold up,” Melvin said, as seen on Comcast Sportsnet’s postgame show.

But the Royals refused to go down quietly, and came back to life in the eighth.

Alcides Escobar started the inning off with a single to center field. He stole second and later advanced to third on a Nori Aoki groundball. Cain got his second RBI of the night with a single to center field, scoring Escobar and chasing Lester out of the game.

Luke Gregerson came in and allowed two more runs to come across but managed to keep the A’s lead, paving the way for Sean Doolittle to close out the game.

After a scoreless top of ninth, the Royals sent Josh Willingham to the plate. Willingham, known for his ability to beat the A’s, flared a ball out to right field. The Royals pinch ran for Willingham with Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was sacrificed to second and stole third before being brought home by Aoki on a sacrifice fly to tie the game, setting up the extra-inning excitement.

Lester, who likely pitched his last game as an A, went 7 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. He allowed six runs – his most with the A’s – with five strikeouts.

“I’d like to thank A’s organization for believing in me and trading for me,” Lester told reporters, as seen on Comcast Sportsnet’s postgame show. “Unfortunately, we’re on the wrong bad end tonight, but it was never lack of trying.”

Shields went five innings, allowing four runs on five hits with six strikeouts in the no decision.

The Royals will play the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday at 6 p.m.