The Oakland Athletics won Game 2 of the Wild Card round despite some late-inning drama.
The Oakland Athletics have won a playoff game. It’s been seven years since that statement has been able to be uttered, but on Wednesday, the A’s conquered their postseason demons and finally pulled it off.
It may just be one game, but to the A’s, it felt like so much more. And sure, the series isn’t over yet, but this felt like a major hurdle that needed to be conquered.
It’s not just that the A’s won either — it’s how they won.
Rather than relying on late-inning rallies and walk-offs, the Athletics scored early and took a 4-0 lead after two innings and a 5-0 lead after four.
And following a solo blast from Khris Davis in the fourth, the A’s held on to their 5-0 lead until late in the game. Oakland trotted out righty Chris Bassitt and the surprise standout was absolutely phenomenal pitching against his former team.
Bassitt pitched seven scoreless innings before running into some trouble in the eighth. His fastball never seemed on, but he mixed in some sinkers and cutters to keep the White Sox bats honest, and evidently, it worked.
The Oakland Athletics would turn to closer Liam Hendriks in the eighth.
But once Tim Anderson singled to lead off the eighth inning, manager Bob Melvin decided to turn to his bullpen. He opted to go with Liam Hendriks, his trust closer, for what would effectively be a six-out unofficial save.
Unfortunately, Hendriks would surrender a two-run homer to catch Yasmani Grandal to cut the Oakland lead to 5-2. Despite working into some more trouble in the eighth, Hendriks and the A’s would take that lead into the ninth.
Melvin did decide to have Hendriks return in the ninth and despite recording the first two outs, it was clear that the Aussie reliever was running on empty.
He topped his season-high tossing over 40 pitches loading the bases on a pair of hits and a walk. That prompted the A’s to turn to Jake Diekman who immediately walked the first batter he faced to cut the lead to 5-3.
In stepped slugger, Jose Abreu as A’s fans held their collective breaths. However, there would be no ninth-inning comeback as Abreu would ground out to end the game.
Just like that, the A’s exercised their postseason demons and won a playoff game. Will they come out as the ultimate victors in the series? That remains to be seen.
But for now, A’s fans can breathe a sigh of relief.