OAKLAND — Adam Rosales delivered a two-run game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth as the A’s beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 and recorded their first walk-off victory of the season.
Bruce Maxwell was down to his final strike against Francisco Rodriguez when he worked a two-out walk. Matt Joyce followed with a double to the right field corner and then Rosales lined a single to left. Maxwell scored easily and Joyce dove in head first with the winning run ahead of the throw form Justin Upton.
The thrilling victory gave Oakland just its third win in the past 12 games and was a badly needed shot in the arm for a team that has largely struggled in all phases of the game lately.
The A’s put on a long-distance show with three homers, including the first two-homer night of Yonder Alonso’s career, but it seemed like it might not be enough. Jesse Hahn couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, and the A’s trailed 5-2 by the fifth.
The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second and had an answer each time the A’s chipped away with a run in the early and middle innings. Oakland closed to within 5-4 on Alonso’s second homer, a two-run blast, setting the stage for the ninth-inning heroics.
As Rosales was interviewed after the game, Maxwell and Ryon Healy belted him with a pie and Gatorade shower.
Starting pitching report:
When Hahn labored through a 34-pitch first inning, it was a sign that he might not pitch deep into this one. The Tigers got to him for three runs in the second. Granted, the rally was jumpstarted by the first of Ryon Healy’s two errors in the inning, but Hahn gave up Andrew Romine’s two-run triple and an RBI single to Nicholas Castellanos. By the time Hahn was lifted with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, he had already heaved 101 pitches over just 3 2/3 innings, walking four and allowing four runs (three earned).
Hahn had been very solid in four previous starts since replacing Raul Alcantara in the rotation. But with Sean Manaea set to make a rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, and perhaps ready to return to the rotation shortly after that, Hahn could well find himself the odd man out on the five-man starting staff.
Daniel Coulombe relieved Hahn and promptly walked Alex Avila to force in a run and give Detroit a 4-1 lead. After the A’s shaved a run off their deficit, the lefty would surrender another run in the fifth on Castellanos’ two-out run-scoring double that left the A’s trailing 5-2. Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull, Ryan Madson and Frankie Montas teamed up for 4 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the A’s within striking distance. Montas picked up his first career victory.
At the plate:
Before the season, any run production from Alonso would have been considered icing on the cake for Oakland. Who knew he would become such an indispensable hitter in the early going? Alonso entered the night ranked sixth in the American League in slugging percentage (.585) and the leader among AL first basemen in RBI (19). Then, batting cleanup for the second time in three games, Alonso proceeded to put on a show. His solo shot in the fourth looked like it was shot from a cannon as it went out to right-center. The A’s were down 5-2, and struggling to mount anything against Jordan Zimmerman, when he went deep again in the sixth. He belted a chest-high fastball for a two-run shot to right-center that pulled Oakland to within a run. Alonso is now just one homer shy of his career high of nine that he hit in 2012 with San Diego.
Ryon Healy connected for the A’s other homer.
In the field:
Healy made two fielding errors in the second but the A’s, for once, overcame their defensive struggles.
The announced crowd was 16,651.
With Sean Manaea on the D.L., Sonny Gray (0-1, 6.00) gets pushed up to start Sunday, though he will still be on his regular four days’ rest thanks to a day off in the schedule earlier this week. He’ll be opposed by lefty Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.00) in the 1:05 p.m. game.