OAKLAND -- The shift in momentum in the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday evening turned as rapidly as Rajai Davis' ride home in the seventh inning.Davis' Little League home run capped a four-run inning that put the A's on top of the Angels with only six outs
OAKLAND -- The shift in momentum in the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday evening turned as rapidly as Rajai Davis' ride home in the seventh inning.
Davis' Little League home run capped a four-run inning that put the A's on top of the Angels with only six outs needed to keep it that way. But they got only four, before Danny Espinosa's three-run homer off Ryan Dull turned Davis' doings into nothing more than a side note in a 7-6 Oakland loss.
"That was definitely a swing of emotions," Davis said.
The veteran outfielder stepped to the plate with one out in the seventh against right-hander Bud Norris, working a 2-2 count before drilling a liner off the glove of Angels first baseman Jefry Marte for a go-ahead, two-run triple and continuing on home when Espinosa's errant throw skipped by him at third base.
"When I saw the ball going to the bullpen, I figured, they're not going to get it before I got home," Davis said. "It just felt like Little League again. After it hit off his glove, I'm thinking two. Once I got there kinda quick, just thought, there's only one out so I'll take a chance."
"At that point in time," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "we thought we were in pretty good shape."
Except Melvin was without veteran right-hander Santiago Casilla, the man on the mound in the ninth inning of Monday's opener who secured the save. According to Melvin, "We weren't using Casilla. He threw a bullpen yesterday, we did some [fielding practice] with him, so he was down today.
"We were very comfortable with the matchups in the ninth for Ryan. It just didn't work out. He made one bad pitch."
Right-hander Ryan Madson worked a scoreless eighth ahead of Dull's entrance in the ninth, getting Jose Pujols to bounce into a double play. The inning wasn't foreign to Dull; he compiled three saves in a stellar rookie campaign last year. And on Tuesday, with the A's employing a flexible approach in the ninth inning these days, he was aware he could be brought on board for the task.
Just a night before, Dull had struck out each of his three batters -- including Espinosa -- and had the Angels infielder in an 0-2 count with runners on the corners, the beginning of the frame having perhaps foreshadowed impending trouble when Marte reached on a meek grounder that third baseman Trevor Plouffe couldn't grasp.
Dull offered Espinosa the same pitch he used for a third strike on Monday, just missing his location "by about an inch." Espinosa sent the slider to right-center field for his first hit as an Angel.
"One bad pitch," Dull said. "It was down, but I gotta get it a little bit lower.
"It's the game of baseball. It's your night one night, and the next night can be the complete opposite."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.