In the team's first visit to Wrigley Field since 2010, Monday night's 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs probably wasn't how the A's drew things up.
After the A's took a 2-1 lead, Javier Baez smacked two home runs en route to giving the Cubs a commanding 6-2 lead.
The man who got the A's back in it during the eighth inning might have been the least likely candidate to do so. Nick Martini -- a Chicagoland native -- got his first chance in a young MLB career to play in his hometown with much of his family in attendance.
Martini had just five at-bats this season headed into Monday's game, and was not in the starting lineup. However, he got an opportunity to pinch-hit in the top of the eighth inning and boy, did he take full advantage.
Martini hit a 💣 and his family went NUTS in the stands pic.twitter.com/GoA7VjtvsY— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 6, 2019
"Not only was it big for us but he really fought in the at-bat," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Martini's home run. "Fouled some pitches off, worked it deep in the count, and finally got a pitch he could put in play."
Martini's family was in attendance out in left field, and after being featured initially on the broadcast when Martini went to bat, they had an absolutely priceless reaction to seeing his first home run of the season in person.
I had no idea what was going on behind me. I guessed that @NickMartini26 did something spectacular by the reaction of his family and friends. A pinch-hit 2-run HR qualifies as spectacular. pic.twitter.com/2SG7zv3Y0B— Joe Stevenson (@nwh_JoePrepZone) August 6, 2019
While the A's were unable to complete the comeback, Martini cemented a signature moment at the ballpark where he grew up watching games.
"It's all been pretty crazy,'' Martini told the Wichita Eagle in 2011 after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. "I've been a Cubs fan ever since I can remember and always rooted for them. I tried to go to as many games at Wrigley Field as I could when I was younger. I've never actually liked the Cardinals.''
I'm not sure you could write a story any better for Martini, who spent over eight seasons laboring in the minor leagues before getting a chance in the majors. After the Cardinals finally released him in November 2017, the A's signed him just a few months later.
He performed admirably in his first major league season, hitting .296 over 179 at-bats with Oakland. His first career home run came in late September, during a 21-3 blowout win over the Los Angeles Angels. Martini hit the homer off Angels catcher Francisco Arcia, who was pitching in the seventh inning due to the lopsided score.
Bob Melvin made sure to remind the media of that fact after Monday's game.
"I think his second home run, first one off an actual pitcher, first one was off a position player," Melvin said as a slight grin crept over his face.
Perhaps this could be a lightning rod for Martini personally. Although his opportunities have been extremely limited this season, he currently does provide the only lefty bat in the A's outfield corps. And with the team hitting just .239 against right-handed pitching going into Monday's game, the A's could use a few more strong at-bats from the left side down the stretch.
Such pure joy comes few and far between when a team plays 162 games a year, but moments like these are what makes people continue to religiously follow America's pastime. No matter what happens throughout the rest of the season, the Martini family now has a memory that none of them will ever forget.