Olson's walk-off homer lifts A's over Astros

August 18th, 2018

OAKLAND -- 's feet started slipping a bit as he rounded third with the game's tying run -- he admits he has "terrible form" when he runs the bases. But his sliding form?

"Good enough to score," Laureano said with a chuckle.

With the A's down a run in the ninth inning to the division-leading Astros, Laureano was finally ruled safe at home with the tying run after a seemingly endless review, and one inning later, 's first career walk-off homer completed Oakland's wildest comeback yet in a season chock-full of late heroics, as the A's stunned the Astros, 4-3 in 10 innings, moving to within one game of the lead in the American League West.

"We're never out of any game," Laureano said. "That's the way we feel. Whether we're losing by one run or 10 runs, whatever, we feel like we've got this game. We feel like we have every inning, every pitch. That's what it takes to win a World Series."

Laureano was off with a head of steam from first base when Nick Martini lined a double down the right-field line off Astros closer , but after and made an accurate relay home, Laureano was initially ruled out on a bang-bang play by home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.

A heart-pounding 3 minutes, 6 seconds later, with a Coliseum crowd on its feet chanting, "safe," the call was reversed.

That set the stage for Olson to launch an 83-mph slider from Astros reliever over the right-field wall in the 10th inning for his first career walk-off homer, completing the A's Major League-best 11th comeback victory when trailing after seven innings.

"Definitely one of the cooler things I've done in my career," Olson said. "That's the most juiced I've gotten on the field, for sure, just for us to stay in that game."

Olson was glad to get that chance at redemption after he struck out with runners on first and second and nobody out in the eighth inning, when the A's ultimately failed to score. They also failed to score in the sixth with men on first and second with one out.

But those missed opportunities didn't faze the A's, who never count themselves out -- they lead the Majors in runs scored in the eighth inning, and rank second in runs scored in the seventh inning or later.

"When you have success doing it and you do it a number of times, it means you're confident in those situations," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're just confident that they're always going to come back and have a chance when it's late. Success breeds confidence, and we have plenty of both late in games."

A's starter was wild after the first three innings and didn't have his best cutter, but he battled to keep the A's in the game through five innings, yielding only a pair of solo homers to and .

Though All-Star right-hander Charlie Morton held the A's offense in check early, they took advantage of two infield miscues to load the bases in the fifth, and after a double play brought home a run, won an eight-pitch battle with Morton with a game-tying single to right, extending his MLB-best hitting streak to 14 games.

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MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY

Laureano never had any doubt he scored -- he sprung up from his slide with his arms spread in the "safe" sign. In the dugout, watching the replays on the scoreboard, Melvin didn't have a doubt, either, that Laureano swiped home plate with his left arm before Maldonado's tag was applied to his hip.

"I knew I was safe because I beat the throw," Laureano said. "I knew right away."

Naturally, those in the opposing dugout disagreed.

"Everything I saw, he was out," Reddick said. "There was zero angle that showed him being safe and getting in there. I have no idea what they saw there. Everybody around here thinks they made the wrong call."

Melvin didn't just want a second look at the slide -- he also wanted the replay crew in New York to make sure that there wasn't obstruction at third base or blocking of home plate by Maldonado.

While Laureano was approaching third base, Bregman appeared to be slightly slow in moving out of his way, but Laureano said after the game that he didn't feel it was a factor. He also said that Maldonado left him enough space to swipe home plate -- he drew chuckles by holding up a carton of coconut water to show the media how much of the plate he could access.

SOUND SMART

Chapman's RBI single also extended his on-base streak to 30 games, second among active streaks only to the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter (35). The last A's player to reach base in 30 straight during one season was Mark Ellis, who had a 32-game on-base streak from Aug. 16-Sept. 19, 2007.

With the win, the A's moved to 73-49, matching a season-best 24 games above .500 and tying the team's best 122-game record over the last 28 years (1992 and 2014). Each of those previous teams played in the postseason.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

In Friday night's installment of Chapman's seemingly daily highlight-reel plays, the A's third baseman ran deep into Oakland's cavernous foul territory up the left-field line on a Reddick popup in the third inning and made a sliding grab with his back to home plate.

Per Statcast™, Chapman sprinted 101 feet to make the snag behind the A's bullpen mounds.

HE SAID IT

"I wish I could say how I really feel, but to put it in an honorable statement, that was a [heck] of a game, and I think that's an understatement. To say it was a [heck] of a game is somewhat of an understatement. That's the team that we have. This team is capable of doing special things like that on a daily basis. Tonight showed that." -- Jackson

UP NEXT

Scott Hatteberg, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and others from the legendary 2002 A's team that won an American League record 20 consecutive games will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday afternoon's contest against the Astros as part of the A's ongoing celebrations of their 50th anniversary season. Following the festivities, right-hander (4-2, 3.39 ERA) will toe the rubber for the A's opposite (9-9, 3.43) for a 1:05 p.m. PT first pitch.