Athletics

Athletics

OAKLAND -- Most major leaguers will tell you that pinch-hitting is the hardest thing to do in baseball. You've been sitting in the dugout the entire game and now, all of a sudden, you're asked to come off the bench cold and take some hacks, usually in a critical situation.

Robbie Grossman doesn't seem awfully bothered by that challenge. The A's outfielder came through with a tiebreaking two-run triple Thursday afternoon -- capping a seven-run seventh inning -- as the A's rallied back from a 6-1 deficit to earn a thrilling 10-6 win over the Angels.

"We're never out of it," Grossman said after the game. "How many times this season has something like that occurred? This team is full of confidence and we never feel like we're out of it."

With two outs and runners on second and third in a 6-6 tie, Grossman entered the game in place of Chad Pinder. The Angels countered with a pitching change, summoning left-hander Adalberto Mejia to turn Grossman, a switch-hitter, around to the right side.

Grossman wasn't phased, jumping on the very first pitch, a 91 mph fastball, and driving it 407 feet to center field, over the head of a leaping Mike Trout.

"Pinch-hitting, you've got to be aggressive early," Grossman explained. "You're sitting on the bench the whole game and you've got to see where you're at on the first pitch. I put a good swing on it and luckily Mr. Trout didn't catch it."

 

Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "He was ready for it. He was aggressive coming off the bench with guys on base."

This wasn't Grossman's first clutch pinch-hit this season. Earlier this year, he launched a two-run home run in the eighth inning at Toronto to tie the game at two. For the season, Grossman is now 5-for-16 (.313) as a pinch-hitter with a home run, triple, double, four walks, and seven RBI.

"He's done it before," Melvin said. "Once you have some success with it, like he's had for us this year, then you feel good when you go up there. There's a time to be patient, which he's really good at -- leading off innings and so forth and drawing walks -- and there's a time to go up there and be aggressive, and he has a good feel for that, obviously."

Grossman was more humble about his success, explaining that it's all a learning experience.

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"I've been doing this for a while and I've failed a lot," he said. "(The key is) just staying confident. That's all you can do."

With the win, the A's completed a three-game sweep of the Angels and moved to 81-58 on the season, tied with Tampa Bay for the top AL wild-card spot. Oakland now welcomes the league-worst Detroit Tigers to the Coliseum beginning Friday.