Vogt's heroics key in A's wild walk-off win

August 28th, 2022

OAKLAND -- When Stephen Vogt signed a deal to return to the A’s in Spring Training, he hoped to rekindle some of the magic he experienced during his first stint with the club that began nearly a decade ago. In what’s been a trying season for both Vogt and the rebuilding A’s, Saturday sparked flashbacks of the good old days.

Summoned as a pinch-hitter trailing by two runs with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Vogt was serenaded with the “I believe in Stephen Vogt” chant that originated from A’s fans in 2014. Back then, those chants were followed by Vogt delivering in a clutch moment. Years later, Vogt gave those same fans a reason to believe once again, clobbering a game-tying two-run homer that sent the Oakland Coliseum into a frenzy.

Vogt’s home run, his sixth of the year, shifted the momentum back in favor of the A’s, who finished a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Yankees in the 11th on an errant throw from second baseman DJ LeMahieu on a grounder hit by Chad Pinder, which easily allowed Shea Langeliers to score the game-winning run.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Vogt became the first A’s player to hit a game-tying homer in extra innings against the Yankees since Hall of Famer Al Simmons did so on May 30, 1925, when the franchise called Philadelphia its home. Once Vogt saw the ball clear the high wall in right-center field, Vogt swung his arms down, broke out into a high-step and yelled, ‘Let’s go!’ into the A’s dugout.

“I have no idea what I did around the bases,” Vogt said. “I knew I hit it hard. As soon as I saw it hit the State Farm sign, I don’t know what happened until I got into the dugout. I’ve been told I was high-stepping and going crazy, which is fine. I’ve always been a raw-emotions guy. It’s genuine. It’s not an act. I felt like a little kid again.”

At this stage in his career, Vogt knows his role. With limited playing time, the 37-year-old catcher’s value to this young A’s club mostly comes in his mentorship of fellow backstops Sean Murphy and Langeliers, as well as overall leadership for a team that currently features 16 rookies on its active roster.

Still, Vogt prepares for every game is if he’s a regular in the lineup. He believes there’s still something left in the tank as far as on-field production. Batting only .165, he hasn’t performed in the fashion he’d like. But highlights like Saturday’s dramatics provide reassurance that he still is capable of playing this game at the highest level.

“You hear a lot of things where it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s good. They’re going to bring him back to be in the clubhouse,’” Vogt said. “Well, you know, I can still play a little bit. If I didn’t feel like I could play, I wouldn’t have come back. I still felt like I could play, and moments like this help.

“It hasn’t been an ideal year for me from a stats standpoint, but I love these guys in this room. I love this organization. To come back and still contribute toward wins is the greatest feeling you can have.”

It was an emotional night for Vogt, whose heroics came in front of his wife, Alyssa, and his three children, who took in their final chance to watch him play a game this season before returning home to Olympia, Wash. However, while speaking to reporters after the game, Vogt made sure to deflect attention to the superb outing of A’s starter Adam Oller. The rookie took a no-hitter into the sixth and tossed the best game of his career to this point by limiting New York’s potent offense to one hit and facing the minimum 24 batters over eight scoreless innings.

The dominant pitching extended down to Oakland's bullpen, which did not allow a hit over the game’s final three frames. By night’s end, Saturday marked the first time in franchise history that the A’s allowed less than two hits in an extra-inning game.

“Can’t say enough about Adam Oller and our pitching staff and what they did tonight,” Vogt said. “That was the story of the night. The way they threw the ball and kept the Yankees off the board.”

Oller, who watched Vogt’s home run from inside the A’s clubhouse, said he had no issues ceding the spotlight to his veteran teammate.

“When he hit it, I had goosebumps,” Oller said. “He is the best teammate and person I’ve ever played with. He’s still out there every day getting early work in. It makes me happy that he was the one that hit that.”