Athletics

Moreland clutch yet again, extends A's win streak to eight

Athletics
A's celebrate walk-off win

Mitch Moreland delivered the Athletics their first win of the season on April 7, and on Sunday he delivered his second walk-off in as many weeks to give Oakland its ninth win of the 2021 campaign.

Moreland, whom A's manager Bob Melvin called upon to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning for Ka'ai Tom, slapped a hard grounder to third base with two outs that Detroit Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario couldn't handle. Matt Olson scored from second on Candelario's error to clinch the 3-2 win, completing a four-game sweep of the Tigers and the A's eighth straight victory.

The 35-year-old Moreland previously had driven a fly ball to right-center field in the 10th inning of a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, which snapped a six-game losing streak to begin the season.

Facing hard-throwing southpaw Gregory Soto in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, Moreland had fouled off two consecutive pitches that were 98 and 99 mph, respectively. When another 98 mph heater came roaring toward the plate, Moreland shot it the other way with a 102.5 mph exit velocity, which Candelario couldn't keep in front of him.

"Definitely happy I was able to get the job done in that situation," Moreland said regarding his approach in that final at-bat. "A guy I've never faced before but knew he had a big arm and just tried to compete at that spot, that was the biggest thing. Try to see it and put the bat on it and hope it gets through somewhere and was able to do that."

 
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The A's are now 9-7, good for third place in the AL West.

Moreland had been a thorn in the A's side for many years prior to coming to Oakland. He hit more home runs (22) against the club than any other in his MLB career.

Now that he's joined the A's, he's already delivered a pair of walk-offs in his first month.

Oakland's wave of momentum will have an unexpected break on Monday, as the scheduled game against the Minnesota Twins was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests inside the Twins organization. The A's announcement said, pending test results, the game could be made up as part of a Tuesday doubleheader at the Coliseum.

Moreland has delivered when it mattered most in 2021, and the A's will need to keep the train rolling as they look to climb the ladder in a competitive division race.