The A's are red-hot, winning seven of their last 10 games and collecting their fifth walk-off win Tuesday night over the rival Houston Astros at the Coliseum.
Star outfielder Ramón Laureano delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to propel the Athletics to a 6-5 win.
Houston got to A's starter Sean Manaea early, scoring three runs on eight hits through the first four innings. Two solo home runs from Laureano in the bottom of the first and fourth innings kept the A's within striking distance and provided a jolt of energy that fueled another late-game comeback.
“He tends to bring a little bit of energy, just the way he plays and the fight he has in him," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said on a video conference call after the game. "Talk about playing well against the Astros, his numbers against the Astros are fantastic. We’re down and then all of a sudden Ramon [Laureano] shows up for a couple of homers, and it feels like a different game. Whether it’s defensively, whether it’s on the base path, he always finds a way to be part of a win. Today was obviously a lot more than part of a win.”
Even if the A's find themselves down early, their recipe for success has led to many late-game comebacks.
“We’ve seen this before multiple times where we get down a little bit," Melvin added. "The day before yesterday kind of the same thing. We’re down and come back, and do our thing late. It’s a pretty good recipe, especially here at home.”
Laureano has been at the center of many A's victories this season and echoed a similar message as his manager.
“Yeah, even those games that we don’t win, late in the game we feel like we can come back anytime," Laureano said postgame. "I feel like everybody feels that way, we have a good group of guys.”
Manaea struggled early but settled in for six strong innings. He felt comfortable departing the game, knowing that he would be handing the ball over to a solid A's bullpen.
“Yeah. Giving the ball to the bullpen, they do an incredible job," Manaea said postgame. "Every guy in there is putting up numbers and coming through in clutch situations and shutting the door. If you give the chance to the offense, they’re going to do something special."
The A's are a confident bunch, and their belief in one another has helped propel them to five walk-off wins this season.
"I think we all just believe in each other, and that is one of the [least talked about factors]," Manaea added. "Good things can happen from that, and it’s fun to be a part of that. We’ve done it five times already so it’s kind of a crazy thing.”
With a win over the Astros on Tuesday night, the A's extended their lead over Houston in the AL West to a game and a half with two games remaining in the series this week.