Los Angeles – Chad Pinder said yesterday after Oakland lost 5-2 to the Houston Astros that all the A’s needed was one big hit or one big inning. That big hit came in seventh when Pinder went deep to right field for a three-run homer to tie the game.
The A’s avoided a sweep and will keep this series going after their 9-7 victory over the Astros today. A slugfest between both teams but Oakland came out on top with five home runs. Liam Hendriks also added some spice when he came in the seventh and tossed three scoreless frames.
“That was more like an earthquake than a shift,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin on Pinder’s home run. “Off the bat, the way it’s carrying today, you think maybe. But as soon as [Kyle] Tucker kept kept going back, you had a pretty good idea that it had a chance to go out. He’s got tremendous power to the fields.”
Oakland began the seventh with back-to-back singles from both Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella. Pinder went yard to tie the game 7-7. That was the one big hit, the A’s were looking for. Oakland trailed 7-4 before Pinder’s home run and rumor has it, a motivational speech got the rally going.
“Right before the inning, Ramon got everybody up and got everybody fired up saying this wasn’t it,” Pinder said. “You could kind of feel when we got into the dugout after the sixth, the energy was down. Ramon was having no part of that. I won’t go into too much depth on what he said, but it was along the lines of, ‘This ain’t it. This ain’t over. This isn’t our last game, and we’re not going to let it be our last game.’
We’ve gone through too much and had too many good things happen throughout the season to leave here getting swept. We just gotta keep getting to the next day. That’s kinda what I got from it, with Ramon’s intensity tangled in there a little bit.”
Laureano’s speech worked, the A’s tied the game and added two more runs in the eighth. Robbie Grossman leadoff the frame with a walk and Laureano followed with a double. Sean Murphy’s sacrifice fly drove in Grossman to extend Oakland’s lead 8-7. Then Semien got a free pass.
La Stella got hit by a pitch that leveled him immediately. Pinch-runner Nate Orf replaced La Stella and the bases were loaded. Pinder hit a sacrifice fly and Laureano scored making it a 9-7 game. The A’s confidence was back and their closer recored his first playoff win after allowing one hit and struck out four.
“I threw less pitches than I did last time, I just happened to double my actual innings and outs,” said Hendriks. Yeah, I’ll be ready to go tomorrow. I don’t think there’s any doubt. If I’m the best man for the job, I want the ball. If they see someone else they think is going to be better in a situational thing, I’ve got no ego. I want the ball. No matter what situation, I want the ball, and I want to try to get is to that Game 5 now.”