OAKLAND -- Every year that the A’s have reached the postseason over the past decade, it seems to come off regular seasons filled with magic and late-inning drama. Their 2019 campaign was no different.
From historic pitching performances to clutch hitting, the A’s found a multitude of ways to defy the odds and make it back to the playoffs for a second straight year. Here’s a list of the top 10 moments along the way:
1. Laureano nabs Bogaerts
April 2 vs. Red Sox
The reigning World Series champion Red Sox made an early-season visit to the Oakland Coliseum, but Ramón Laureano ended up stealing the show. Having already thrown Xander Bogaerts out on the basepaths the night before (more on that in a bit), it was déjà vu all over again, only in a more important situation. With one out in the ninth, Bogaerts smashed a drive off the right-center-field wall that would have been a game-tying home run in many other ballparks. Laureano played the ball off the wall and delivered a one-hop throw to Matt Chapman, who applied a quick tag on Bogaerts to keep runners off the bases and preserve a 1-0 victory.
2. Laureano throws out Bogaerts ... the first time
April 1 vs. Red Sox
Before Bogaerts challenged Laureano on April 2 and failed, he tried him the night before and... also failed. Laureano made a throw on the fly from medium-deep center field on a double by Mitch Moreland to nail Bogaerts at home plate in the second inning of a 7-0 win, with Nick Hundley applying a nice sweeping tag. The throw covered 270 feet at a velocity of 96 mph, per Statcast.
3. Olson walks it off against Hader
July 30 vs. Brewers
Facing one of the toughest lefties in baseball in Josh Hader, Matt Olson wasted no time as he unloaded on a first-pitch fastball that was driven to dead-center for a walk-off 3-2 victory in 10 innings.
4. Laureano's insane double play
April 21 vs. Blue Jays
In a season filled with defensive gems, Laureano’s unorthodox double play against the Blue Jays in a 5-4 loss is up there with the best of his career. On a rocket hit by Teoscar Hernández, Laureano raced back to the center-field wall at the Coliseum and robbed a two-run homer with a perfectly timed leaping catch. Back to his feet after making the superb catch, Laureano fired a ball that sailed well past first base as he tried to double off Justin Smoak. But Hundley was backing up in foul territory, and he quickly corralled the ball and nabbed Smoak with a perfect throw to Marcus Semien at second base for one of the craziest double plays all year. Even Laureano had a hard time remembering a better play he’s made. “Maybe when I was a kid,” he said. “I don’t remember.”
5. Chaptain Comeback
June 20 vs. Rays
Down to their final out in a ninth inning that began with the A’s facing a three-run deficit, Chapman completed an exhilarating comeback as he blasted a three-run home run off Rays reliever Diego Castillo for a walk-off 5-4 win at the Coliseum.
6. Fiers throws his second no-no
May 8 vs. Reds
In what A’s manager Bob Melvin called one of his favorite nights since joining the club in 2011, you can pinpoint the night of May 8 as the day that Mike Fiers turned the tide on his season. Named the A’s No. 1 starter out of Spring Training, the right-hander entered the night with an ERA+ of 64 -- the worst of any starter in the Majors. Looking for a boost, Fiers found it by tossing the second no-hitter of his career in a 2-0 victory over the Reds at the Oakland Coliseum. It was the 300th no-hitter in MLB history, and he became the 35th pitcher with multiple no-hitters in his career, including the postseason. From that point, Fiers was not charged with a loss until Sept. 9.
8. Chapman ends it in extras
May 10 vs. Indians
Chapman’s first career game-winning RBI came on a walk-off homer against the Indians in 12 innings for a 4-3 victory. It was no easy task against Brad Hand, who had not allowed a homer entering the night and had turned in scoreless outings in 15 of his first 17 appearances. After getting ahead in the count 2-0 against Hand, Chapman took the next two pitches for strikes before laying off Hand’s signature slider for a ball to work the count full. Hand threw him the backdoor slider, and Chapman connected for a lined shot over the left-field wall.
9. KD homers four times in 24 hours
April 10-11 vs. Orioles
Even in a down year, there were still some vintage performances from Khris Davis. His most impressive feat came during a series in Baltimore where he homered twice in back-to-back games, making it a total of four home runs he hit in the span of 24 hours. Davis became the first A's player to hit multiple homers in consecutive games since Josh Reddick on Aug. 9-10, 2013. It was the 12th time an A's player has done it since the team moved to Oakland.
10. Piscotty’s late-inning magic
May 8 vs. Reds
One night after celebrating Fiers' no-hitter, Stephen Piscotty kept the party going at the Coliseum with the first walk-off hit of his career, a homer, a solo blast off Robert Stephenson for a 5-4 win in 13 innings.