OAKLAND -- The A's could've easily put their heads down after what surely felt like a gut punch in the top of the eighth inning. But they roared back with greater force than their counterparts, choosing not to surrender, but to rally and rise above for a thrilling 10-8 victory
OAKLAND -- The A's could've easily put their heads down after what surely felt like a gut punch in the top of the eighth inning. But they roared back with greater force than their counterparts, choosing not to surrender, but to rally and rise above for a thrilling 10-8 victory over the Royals on Tuesday night at the Coliseum.
After the Royals counted off three home runs while taking their turn in a wild eighth, jumping out to a 6-4 lead, the A's responded with six of their own runs to complete a startling comeback.
"That was awesome, man," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "I'm so proud of these guys. Obviously it's tough to give up the runs and the lead there late in the game. It's obviously frustrating, but to be able to come back and battle and have good at-bats and start a rally and come away with the win speaks a lot to these guys' ability to keep playing the game, not give up, and it's really fun to watch a lot of these young, really talented guys play the game and play it the right way."
Joyce was at the center of activity, sending a go-ahead, bases-clearing double to center field against Royals lefty Mike Minor with two outs. This, after Kansas City elected to intentionally walk Rajai Davis.
Joyce also homered to lead off the bottom of the first inning. In between, the A's got homers from rookie Matt Olson and Khris Davis. Meanwhile, starter Chris Smith departed with a 5-4 lead in hand, hoping to secure his first career win as a starter.
"Winning would be nice," said Smith, who was denied the victory after Santiago Casilla surrendered a go-ahead home run to Andrew Butera, "but for the team to win like that?"
"Again, Smitty's on the line for a win and we can't hold it for him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "But there were a lot of really good contributions along the way in the game today, too. Unfortunately we gave up it up, but really a gutsy comeback. A lot of young guys putting together some really, really good at-bats.
"Momentum obviously went from us to them pretty significantly, and then you get a couple guys on base again and now you have a pretty good feeling. That's really what the culture we want to set with these guys is we're going to come back, no matter what. We're going to fight. If we go down, we're going to go down bleeding."
The A's strung together four consecutive hits against Royals right-hander Joakim Soria to begin the eighth inning, including RBI singles from Ryon Healy and Olson. Matt Chapman went down swinging for the first out, at which point Minor entered to face pinch-hitter Chad Pinder, who also struck out following a wild pitch that put runners on second and third.
The ensuing intentional walk to Rajai Davis proved crucial.
"Minor has good numbers against lefties, so for me I kind of expected the intentional walk," Joyce said. "I'm looking something middle away, something I can drive, and fortunately I stayed in the zone with the first pitch he threw. I think, in situations like that, bases loaded, pitchers kind of have to come to the hitter, so for me that was a good pitch to hit.
"Obviously it's really easy to just roll over and give that game away. Soria is a tough relief pitcher, and we did a great job coming back there. It was a lot of fun to be a part of."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.