Pitching, fielding, hitting. It doesn’t get any more basic than that.
Facing elimination in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series on Wednesday afternoon, the A’s showed mastery of the basic tenets of the game. Chris Bassitt continued his hot streak, Mark Canha made the big defensive play and the A’s hitters came out with an aggressive approach.
The White Sox made it interesting in the ninth, but the end result was a 5-3 win at the Oakland Coliseum, which earns the A’s one more shot to escape the first round of the playoffs.
Here are three things to know from the A's forcing a winner-take-all Game 3.
Bassitt throws a gem
Bassitt dominated his final four regular-season starts, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.34 ERA in the month of September. That momentum carried over into Game 2 of the Wild Card Series for Oakland.
The A’s ace kept the potent White Sox lineup in check, limiting Chicago to just six hits and a walk over seven-plus innings of one-run baseball. Last postseason, Bassitt volunteered to come out of the 'pen to help support his team. Now, as a starter, he might be the A’s best chance of going deep into the playoffs.
The A’s move Canha all over the outfield. In fact, over his last three games dating back to the regular season, he has played in each position.
Canha's play in left on a drive off the bat of Yoan Moncada with two men on and no outs in the third inning might have saved the A’s season.
The catch snare saved at least two runs and squashed the only real threat from the White Sox early in the game. With Bassitt rolling and the Oakland's bats awake, Canha’s defensive gem helped knock the wind out of Chicago’s sails.
Khris Davis' mysterious disappearance at the plate has been one of the most bizarre subplots of Oakland's last two seasons. After three straight 40-home run, 130-RBI seasons, Davis’ production has fallen off a cliff so much that he was limited to just 99 plate appearances in the shortened season this year.
In his first at-bat Wednesday, Davis ripped a ball to right field that hung up and was caught by Adam Engel. When he came up for his second at-bat in the fifth, Davis looked like the slugger A’s fans have become accustomed to.
The shot to left center had Davis’ teammates up in the dugout and provided that little bit of oomph the A’s needed to extend the series to a deciding Game 3.