How do you score three runs in one inning without getting a hit? The A’s somehow found a way.
Somebody call Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt, because the Oakland A’s simply cannot lose.
The A’s beat the Twins on Wednesday, 13–12 (!!) in 10 innings, to run their win streak to 11 games in what was perhaps the wildest game of the young season. There was a lot going on in this one, including six lead changes, 13 pitchers, seven home runs and 31 hits—but skip right ahead to the 10th inning.
The Twins took a 12–10 lead in the top half of the inning thanks to a massive two-run homer by Byron Buxton. Then, Minnesota retired the the first two A’s batters in the home half of the frame before Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus each worked walks to load the bases. That brought up Mark Canha, who hit a routine ground ball to Twins second baseman Travis Blankenhorn, who subsequently did this:
Blankenhorn entered the game as a pinch runner in the top half of the inning, replacing third baseman Josh Donaldson and shifting second baseman Luis Arraez to third. That decision had an immense domino effect that would be fully realized one batter after Blankenhorn’s error kept the A’s in the game.
Oakland’s next batter, Ramón Laureano, fouled off five consecutive pitches before hitting a ground ball to Arraez, who threw it roughly eight feet up the right field line and gifted the A’s an improbable victory.
Somehow, someway, the A’s got three runs on zero hits in the 10th inning. After Stephen Piscotty flied out to center field to lead off the inning, the ball never even left the infield—that is, until Arraez’s errant throw on the game’s final play.
The resulting win probability chart is wonderfully chaotic:
Since starting the season 1-7 and looking pretty awful doing it, the A’s have completely flipped the switch and vaunted all the way into first place in the American League West. The offense has done a complete turnaround, while the pitching staff—despite today’s 12-run shelling—has delivered as well, throwing four shutouts in the past six games.
Will the A’s lose again this season? Probably, but at present, it’s hard to see how they ever could.