A most magical A's season began dramatically -- Marcus Semien's walk-off hit sent them to a victory on Opening Day -- and only heightened in theatrics as the season moved along, an improbable run punctuated by their first postseason berth in four years.Along the way, a bevy of unforgettable moments
A most magical A's season began dramatically -- Marcus Semien's walk-off hit sent them to a victory on Opening Day -- and only heightened in theatrics as the season moved along, an improbable run punctuated by their first postseason berth in four years.
Along the way, a bevy of unforgettable moments were bookmarked. History was made, homers were had, and emotions ran high. The playoff-bound A's surely entertained, and they hope the fun has just begun.
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Here is a look at the A's Top 10 moments from the 2018 season:
The A's hoped to cap a memorable home campaign by clinching on their own turf Sunday, but their magic number remained at one after a loss to the Twins, forcing them to take the party on the road. They didn't have to wait long to celebrate, though, clinching a postseason spot by virtue of a Rays loss only moments after they began play in Seattle on Monday. Perhaps it wasn't the way they envisioned clinching, but there was cause for much celebration nonetheless.
Manaea makes history
Lefty Sean Manaea dazzled against a sizzling Red Sox club on April 21, blanking Boston for the game's first no-hitter of 2018. Manaea struck out 10 and walked two, totaling 108 pitches to finish off the franchise's 12th no-hitter and first since Dallas Braden tossed a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2010. Battery mate Jonathan Lucroy, a nine-year veteran, would later say it "was the most well-pitched, well-executed game I've ever had behind the plate."
Piscotty salutes mom
Perhaps the most emotional moment of this regular season unfolded May 15 at Fenway Park, where outfielder Stephen Piscotty hit a towering home run over the Green Monster in his first at-bat following memorial services for mom, Gretchen, who lost a yearlong battle with ALS. Piscotty looked to the sky, tapping his heart as he crossed home plate -- mimicking Gretchen's gesture in her final days. It was her way of saying, "I love you and thank you," Piscotty explained.
Pinder's slam powers A's
The A's had just suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Astros and were a measly 18-19 when they hit the road for a trying trip east that would include stops in New York, Boston and Toronto. They responded by going 7-3 -- a pivotal point in the season -- and capping the tour with a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays. Utility man extraordinaire Chad Pinder dealt the biggest blow; with the A's trailing by four going into the eighth in the third game of the series on May 19, he clocked his first career grand slam to provide the margin of victory in the 5-4 affair.
Piscotty, Lowrie team up in San Diego
The A's were one strike from a bleak loss in San Diego on June 19 when they woke from their slumber. Piscotty homered off closer Brad Hand to tie the Padres in the ninth inning, then Jed Lowrie homered to beat them in the 10th, 4-2, for an unlikely comeback win in front of a crowd that featured hundreds of A's fans. Oakland had just four hits before Piscotty's long ball.
Bat Flippin' Season
It was a teeny, tiny toss of the bat, but it left an indelible mark on A's fans -- and others miffed by it. Mark Canha's own response following his first career pinch-hit home run, against the cross-Bay rival Giants, no less, for a go-ahead, two-run blast in a July 14 victory provided one of the most entertaining moments of the season. Canha first apologized for the bat flip, then took it back, saying, "You know what, people getting offended by bat flips is so silly. I'm not sorry. I'm not really sorry." Soon after, Canha made shirts for his teammates that read "Bat Flippin' Season."
11 unanswered runs
These A's have specialized in the comeback this year, staging one of the most sensational ones yet in Texas on July 24. Striking for 11 unanswered runs, the A's came away with a remarkable 13-10 victory. Piscotty launched a game-tying home run in the ninth to snap Keone Kela's streak of 23 consecutive save conversions, and Khris Davis delivered a three-run homer in the 10th for a most magical win. Not since Aug. 30, 1939, had the A's won a game when trailing after the sixth inning by at least eight runs.
It was the throw of the year, an absolute marvel: Ramon Laureano, who has continually wowed with a number of defensive highlights since his promotion eight days earlier, outdid himself with a seemingly impossible feat on Aug. 11 in Anaheim, first racing 76 feet in 4.4 seconds to run down a Justin Upton fly ball, then unleashing a throw from the edge of the warning track in left-center that hit the glove of first baseman Canha to double up Eric Young for an inning-ending double play. Statcast™ tells us Laureano's throw traveled a whopping 321 feet, at 91.2 mph.
Olson ends it
The A's trailed Houston by a run in the ninth inning on Aug. 17 when Laureano was ruled safe at home for the tying run following a lengthy review. One inning later, Matt Olson's first career walk-off homer completed a wild comeback in a season chock-full of them, the A's stunning the Astros and moving within one game of the American League West lead.
Make a wish, watch KD homer
Prior to the A's Aug. 20 game against the Rangers, Davis met with a handful of kids with the Make-A-Wish Foundation -- among them, 10-year-old Anthony Slocumb, who is in remission from a rare cancer called Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Slocumb told Davis that he was his favorite player and asked for an autograph. Davis not only happily obliged but asked for one back. The slugger had Slocumb sign the back of his game jersey, then homered in it with Slocumb in the stands. "I thought about him around the bases," Davis said.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.