You couldn’t have written a script like this.
Poetic justice is the best way to describe it: Manny Machado, Public Enemy No. 1 in Oakland, breaking the A’s hearts with a go-ahead two-run blast in the seventh inning, only to have Josh Donaldson snatch away the glory in a 5-4 A’s win Friday night.
It took just six pitches to turn what surely looked like a loss into a walk-off win for the A’s. Down 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Orioles’ closer Zach Britton allowed an infield single to Yoenis Cespedes on three pitches, then a broken-bat single to Brandon Moss on the second pitch of the at-bat. As for Donaldson, he didn’t wait around, smacking a 96-mph first-pitch fastball over the center-field wall. Six pitches, and bang.
In case you were unaware, Machado and Donaldson were involved in an incident last month in Baltimore when Machado was unhappy with a tag Donaldson applied on him, triggering a whole slew of incidents that led to Machado “accidentally” losing control of his bat later on in the series and letting it fly toward Donaldson at third during an at-bat. Machado was suspended five games, for an incident that earned the wrath of A’s fans.
When Machado flied out to left in his first at-bat, the Oakland faithful were delighted, to say the least. They waved blowups of Machado’s face with a pacifier over his mouth, and a sign hung from the bleachers that read “Machado Injury Report: Hurt Feelings.”
But Machado responded by hurting the A’s feelings with his bat, delivering a two-run homer that gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Machado homered off Jeff Samardzija, who was subpar in seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits. It only took two hits, however, for the Orioles to put up the four runs on Samardzija: Machado’s homer, and another two-run blast by Jonathan Schoop in the fifth inning. Schoop’s blast hurt considering it was on a 3-2 count with two out, and Samardzija had just induced a double play after allowing the first two runners in the inning to reach.
Derek Norris tied it at 2-2 with a home run of his own in the bottom of the inning.
— Here is the blow-up of Machado’s face. In my opinion, it’s way more creative than the LeBron crybaby blowup:
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) July 19, 2014
— Jason La Canfora is an NFL reporter for CBS Sports who really, really likes the Orioles.
Keep taunting Manny and he’ll keep cramming it down your throats
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) July 19, 2014
There was no follow-up to that tweet. Maybe La Canfora slept through the ninth inning.
— Not sure if he’s doing it on purpose, but Yoenis Cespedes has a habit of misplaying an easy ball in the outfield only to atone for it by making a spectacular defensive play. It happened again tonight in the third inning, when Cespedes dropped a routine fly ball with a man on first, but in one swift motion, picked up the ball and fired to second on a hop to get the force out at second.
— Tomorrow night is the 25-year reunion of the A’s 1989 World Series team, but the gang was at the Coliseum on Friday night. Dennis Eckersley, Dave Parker, and David Stewart stopped by the TV booth, and boy was that team loaded, from the three guys mentioned above to the likes of Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Carney Lansford (who won the batting title that year with a .336 average).
— As it was mentioned during his stop in the booth, Eckersley actually coined the term “walk-off” since the pitcher would “walk-off” sullenly after giving up the winning run, which is different from how we use the term today. So tonight, it was Britton, not Donaldson, who “walked-off.”
— By the way, the fifth starter on that 1989 team who had a 5-9 record? Curt Young. And the bench player who hit .241 and zero homers in just 37 games? Billy Beane.
— They may have 60 wins and the best record in baseball, but by no means are the A’s in the clear to win the AL West. The surging Angels are close behind, and they just acquired former A’s closer Huston Street from the Padres.