A's hope their luck in tight games is turning
OAKLAND -- Sam Fuld sprinted on contact, slid safely into home and leaped into Ben Zobrist's arms to celebrate, as his teammates flooded the field following Josh Reddick's walk-off grounder. The A's finally picked up their first walk-off win of the season, claiming a 5-4 victory over the Rangers in dramatic fashion at the Coliseum on Wednesday.
Immediately after the game, Reddick received a pie to the face and a Gatorade shower.
"The shower was the more surprising part," Reddick said, "because I hadn't seen the shower in a long time. I'll give it and I'll receive it, and it feels good to be that guy."
The A's, who are now 4-16 in one-run games, were in desperate need of a spark.
Starter Jesse Hahn allowed four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in an uncharacteristically rocky start. Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo gave up two runs in seven innings, but the A's pounced on relievers Sam Freeman, Tanner Scheppers and Keone Kela.
A's relievers Pat Venditte, Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner and Tyler Clippard, meanwhile, combined to surrender just one hit and no runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"The whole bullpen was probably the key to the game," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Trailing 4-2 entering the eighth, the A's rallied when Zobrist's single plated Reddick thanks to a throwing error on Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo. Two batters later, Billy Butler singled home Zobrist to even the score.
Butler was in a 5-for-32 rut entering the at-bat, but he delivered when his team needed a timely hit.
"I've been putting solid contact on it and getting some tough luck for a while now," Butler said. "Figure you've just got to keep grinding and you'll bust out of it. I came up in a big spot and hit it where they weren't. This game is all about placement."
In the ninth, Fuld, who was mired in a 7-for-79 slump of his own, singled, stole second and advanced to third on an infield hit from Billy Burns.
Then came the fireworks the A's had coveted for months.
"By this time we'd usually have like eight [walk-offs] the past two or three years," Reddick said. "It's a long time coming. We've lost a lot of one-run ballgames, and for us to be on the winning side it's something to feel good about."