A's newcomers spark finale rally, walk-off W

Gomes, Marte deliver clutch hits, set up Olson's heroics in 10th against Padres

August 5th, 2021

OAKLAND -- A’s general manager David Forst and vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane made a concerted effort to infuse their club’s slumping offense with some fresh energy by acquiring three hitters ahead of the Trade Deadline.

Desperate for a spark on Wednesday, it was the new guys who provided the exact spark that was needed in a 5-4 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Padres at the Coliseum.

Trailing by two runs entering the bottom of the ninth, A’s newcomers and were right in the middle of a furious late comeback. A two-out rally to tie the series finale against All-Star closer Mark Melancon in the bottom of the ninth was capped by Gomes, who blooped a game-tying pinch-hit single to center.

In the 10th, Marte led off with a flaring single to right off San Diego left-hander Tim Hill, moving automatic runner to third and setting the table for . With runners at the corners, Olson slammed a two-run double off the wall in right that secured a split of the two-game Interleague set.

“That’s what the [Trade] Deadline is all about,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You try to fortify your team. David and Billy do a great job of identifying what we need.

“In Marte’s case, it’s just been every game, it feels like. Certainly, Gomes has come up with a couple of big hits for us, too. These guys played a big part in it today and we expect it to continue down the road.”

Gomes, who is expected to form a left-right platoon with fellow catcher Sean Murphy the rest of the season, made an immediate impact in his first game with the A’s by crushing a go-ahead two-run homer in Sunday’s win against the Angels. The veteran catcher also received heavy praise from rookie right-hander Daulton Jefferies that day for his guidance in navigating him through some early-inning struggles.

Marte’s electric style of play has provided a jolt since the A’s acquired him in a trade with Miami on July 28. With at least one hit in five of his first six games with Oakland, Marte is now batting .360 (9-for-25) over that stretch, with a homer, a double, three walks, five stolen bases and five runs scored.

More importantly, the new hitting acquisitions bring plenty of experience for a young A’s squad that is looking to take the next step. More specifically, a deeper playoff run after early postseason exits in each of the last three seasons. Between Marte, Gomes and Josh Harrison, who was acquired along with Gomes in a deal from Washington just before the Deadline, the trio brings a combined 31 years of Major League time.

“They’ve been great,” Olson said. “The way that they’re swinging the bat and how they carry themselves on the field is super important. It’s nice to have veteran guys come in who have been doing it for a while, and in different ways. It brings a different mindset and perspective. Being able to talk with them and work, it’s been awesome having them.”

Though the A’s (61-48) were going to maintain their grasp on the second American League Wild Card spot regardless of Wednesday’s outcome, this certainly felt like a victory of greater importance.

Coming off an ugly loss in which they went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position the previous night, their most hitless at-bats in such situations since 2015, the majority of Wednesday’s contest saw the A’s offense in a similar rut.

Prior to Matt Chapman’s RBI infield single off Melancon in the ninth that cut the deficit to 3-2, the A’s were once again without a hit with RISP at 0-for-4. If Gomes wouldn't have provided the second big hit of that inning immediately after, Oakland would have headed into Thursday’s off-day frustrated over that elusive clutch hit after wasting another quality outing from Frankie Montas, who kept his team in the game by holding a potent Padres lineup to three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts across six innings.

Instead, Oakland’s ninth walk-off victory, which leads all AL clubs, sent the team into the off-day with a feeling of elation as it prepares to welcome the Rangers for a three-game series beginning on Friday.

"Last night was not a particularly good game for us,” Melvin said. “Anytime you have a walk-off win at home, especially when you’re behind and things aren’t looking good as the game goes along, and you tie the game against a closer that’s been really good, it ranks right up there. We needed this win.”