The game-changing home run that tied Game 3 of the AL Division Series in the top of the seventh inning came off A’s infielder Chad Pinder's bat, but Ramón Laureano played a big role in that moment.
The A’s went to win 9-7 over the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday to force a Game 4 in the best-of-five series, and it was because of something Laureano said in the dugout before Pinder's at-bat.
“It was awesome. Ramon got everybody up, got everyone fired up, saying, ‘This wasn’t it,’ ” Pinder said after the game. “We kind of talked yesterday about how the momentum -- you know when we scored, [the Astros would] score back and punch us back, and we hadn’t been able to respond, and Ramon kind of nipped that in the bud.”
It also worked for A's manager Bob Melvin, who said the change in momentum from Pinder's homer was "more like an earthquake," not necessarily a shift.
During Game 2 on Tuesday, the A's were down emotionally and went on to lose. Laureano wasn’t going to let that happen again.
“You could kind of just feel when we got into the dugout, the energy was down again, kind of get that flat-line feeling, and Ramon was having no part of that,” Pinder said. "He was having absolutely no part of that.
“I won’t go into too much depth what he said, but along the lines of, ‘This ain’t over, this ain’t our last game, and we’re not going to let it be our last game,' ” Pinder added. “ 'We’ve gone through too much and had too many good things happen throughout the season to leave here, getting swept.’ That’s kind of what I got from it.”
Pinder admitted that he had to calm himself down after the speech. His approach at the plate tends to be more relaxed, so the intensity to wear off because his heart rate was rising.
“I had to calm it down before I got up there,” Pinder said with a laugh. “Good thing I had two batters before I had to get up there and hit because he did -- he put me in the zone a little bit.
Pinder made sure he told Laureano of the impact his impromptu speech had on his at-bat.
“I actually just told him that in the clubhouse, I was like, ‘Man, you struck a chord with me, man, and I just got chills thinking about it,' but you need that, and that was a pivotal moment for us, for sure,” Pinder said. “Not even what I did at the plate, but what Ramon did in the dugout, I just keep getting chills all over my body because we needed that. It’s huge.
"We needed somebody to step up. We needed somebody in that moment to do that, and he did, and he let it out. That just speaks to the competitor that he is and how much he cares about our team and our season, and what we’re trying to do.”